Vince Lombardi, who awakened his Green Bay Packers from a decade-long slumber and returned them to NFL dominance, is the subject of this fall's Lakeland College Theatre production.
Lakeland's interpretation of "Lombardi," the former Broadway play based on the book, "When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi," will be performed six times in November. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 5, 6, 7, 13 and 14. A special matinee on Nov. 15 begins at 4.
The play, written by Wisconsin-born playwright and director Eric Simonson, is based on a magazine reporter's account of a week in the life of Lombardi, the iconic head coach and general manager who transformed the Packers from a 1-10-1 team the year before he arrived into a five-time NFL champion and two-time Super Bowl winner.
The six shows offered are the most for any Lakeland Theatre production in the nine years Charlie Krebs has been the college's associate professor of theatre.
"Because of the broad appeal of Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers in the state of Wisconsin, I think this production may draw people from our community who have never been to the theatre before," Krebs said.
"This production connects sports and the arts, which is one reason I think this play will have such huge appeal. Everyone's heard of Vince Lombardi; he's a larger-than-life figure. But sometimes we forget he was a human being, and through this play, we see his human side, his vulnerability. I like that. It makes him real."
"Lombardi" is an unusually intimate production with just a six-person cast – the smallest Krebs has directed. The role of Lombardi will be played by Anthony Liguori, associate professor of psychology at Lakeland. Liguori has vast community acting experience, and, like Lombardi, he grew up in New York.
"His acting is impeccable," Krebs said. "He's done a lot of theatre throughout his life. One of the things I like doing sometimes is casting experienced actors so that our students can watch them and learn. Anthony is a role model because of how seriously he takes his craft and how he treats rehearsals."
The lead female role, Lombardi's wife, Marie, will be played by Christi Sadiq, an Elkhart Lake resident who's also a seasoned community actor. The other four roles will be performed by Lakeland students. Zach Petrowsky, a junior who has performed in all four plays since he's been at Lakeland and last year was Lakeland's student actor of the year, plays reporter Michael McCormick. The other three characters are former Packers players. Lakeland students Zach Mock, Jake Johnston and Kory Peterson will play the roles of Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor and Dave Robinson, respectively.
To purchase tickets ($10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and $5 for non-Lakeland students) to Lakeland's production of "Lombardi," visit Lakeland.edu/tickets.