'Lombardi' -- and the NFL -- will be heading to Broadway this fall
"Lombardi," Eric Simonson's new play about legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, will open Oct. 21 at the Circle in the Square Theatre, according to the show's producers.
Veteran actor Dan Lauria, best known for TV's "The Wonder Years" and a former college football player himself, will portray the late coach, who transformed the hapless Packers into a juggernaut that won five NFL championships -- including the first two Super Bowls -- during the 1960s. The rest of the six-person cast will be announced later.
The show will be directed by Thomas Kail, who was nominated for a 2008 Tony for directing the musical "In the Heights."
The National Football League will join producers Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser as a special producing partner -- its first Broadway venture. The NFL has authorized use of its logos and NFL Films footage and music and will offer help with promotion and marketing.
Simonson is an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker and ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. He based the play on the biography "When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi," by Pulitzer-winning author and journalist David Maraniss.
The NFL also is involved in another Lombardi project. ESPN has announced it is working with the league and Andell Entertainment to develop a movie about the Hall of Fame coach that will star Robert DeNiro.
-- Karen Wada
Photo: Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi is carried off the field after his team defeated the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II on Jan. 14, 1968. Credit: Associated Press