Broadway's Circle in the Square
Football on Broadway? This bio-drama about the legendary Green Bay Packers coach at least deserves points for original playcalling. Yet one could hardly imagine a more tepid or uninteresting take on one of football's most fascinating figures. What was the nature of Lombardi's genius? Was he a strategic mastermind, a great motivator or just the luckiest guy in football? Don't expect any answers here. Eric Simonson's play is told through the eyes of a Look magazine reporter who spent a week with Lombardi during the 1965 season, providing an excuse for lots of irrelevant talk about editors and deadlines, but almost no useful insights into Lombardi (played, just adequately, by former Wonder Years star Dan Lauria), aside from the fact that he apparently yelled a lot. Instead, we waste a lot of time with Lombardi's wife (Judith Light) and three Packer stars Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor and Dave Robinson who don't act as though they could tell the difference between a safety blitz and a safety razor. The play can't even generate any routine football drama: After a weeklong buildup to a crucial late-season game, footage of the contest is projected on video screens, with play-by-play from an announcer who refers to the Packers and "the opposing team" as if naming it would have violated the show's aura of cluelessness.