On Bruce Allen’s birthday, he went to see the new Broadway play LOMBARDI along with a group that included Daniel Snyder, Sam Huff, and Sonny Jurgensen. When I asked Allen about the evening, he said that he loved the show but recommended that I talk to Jurgensen if I wanted more details.
Which makes sense, I suppose. It’s not everyone on the planet who can say they saw a Broadway show about the guy they posed with for a Sports Illustrated cover — an observation that Jurgensen himself was quick to make. “It was very special for me to see a play where you actually knew the person,” Jurgensen told me today. “You knew him. You had played for him. That was very unusual — I don’t think very many people get have that experience.”
And that makes Jurgensen’s favorable review of the performances carry even more weight. “Dan Lauria was very good” as Lombardi, Jurgensen said. “Judith Light as Marie Lombardi was outstanding.”
Jurgensen has actually been at least tangentially involved with the production for awhile now.
“I actually had dinner with the director and the producer before this thing ever opened,” Jurgensen said, “and I had a chance to sit down with Dan Lauria and talk about [Lombardi]. They asked questions about what he was like. And that’s part of what made it very special for me to go see the play.”
You might think that Jurgensen isn’t someone who’s that familiar with the theater, but you’d be wrong. “I like musicals,” he said. “I go to a lot of musicals.” And even though LOMBARDI isn’t a musical, Jurgensen is keenly aware of the challenges the production is going to face, no matter how strong the performances are.
“I hope it does well,” Jurgensen said, “but how many people that go to Broadway plays — unless you’re a big sports fan, and a big sports fan of the sixties — are going to go see this play?”
And, beyond even that, he added, “Broadway critics invariably don’t like sports themes.”
Even the on-Broadway staging of the play might work against it. “If they ran it in Green Bay,” Jurgensen said, “it’d sell out. I hope it does well.”
Following the performance they saw, Jurgensen told me, Steve Sabol of NFL Films got up and told a few behind-the-scenes stories — this is accurate, that really happened, that kind of thing. And one of the anecdotes he shared, Jurgensen said, was that “when they were talking about [casting] the three players they were gonna have in the show — Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, and Dave Robinson — they said when they went to talk to Paul about it, he said, ‘I wanna play myself.'” Jurgensen laughed, but it prompted me to ask him who he’d like to see cast as the lead in a hypothetical SONNY play.
Jurgensen just shook his head. “It wouldn’t sell,” he said.
For more information on LOMBARDI, including ticket sales, click here. After the jump, a few more links from today.
Tags: lombardi broadway, Sonny Jurgensen
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