Monday, February 2, 2015

reviews - LOMBARDI - Desert Stages Theatre

Chase Reynolds and Timothy Pittman
(photo: Wade Moran)
For more information on this production that runs through March 15th, click here.

"There is no question that Vince Lombardi is a legend, and not only in the world of professional football. Even today, more than forty years after he died, he serves as an inspiration and role model to encourage people to achieve to the best of their abilities. His legacy is so memorable that not only is the Super Bowl trophy named in his honor, but he even had a play written about him. Eric Simonson's Lombardi is being presented by Desert Stages in Scottsdale, with a stellar performance by Timothy Pittman as Vince Lombardi.   Lombardi isn't a complete biography of the legendary coach but more a character study of the traits of the man and the people around him. While the play does have its shortcomings—it is never able to actually show what made Lombardi so successful, or truly get into the man that he is—it is still a fairly well written introduction to this legend who inspired so many.  With a gruff New York accent and expressive mannerisms, Timothy Pittman brings the iconic man to life on the small DST stage. He is engaging, mesmerizing, and yet also completely human in his depiction of Lombardi.  It is an excellent, well rounded performance full of nuance. As McCormick, Chase Reynolds has to serve not only as the narrator of the piece but also as the observer for many of the key moments in the play. Reynolds manages a fine performance. Dyana Carroll is exceptional as the ever-accepting Marie. Her many scenes with Reynolds and the players also exhibit how Marie, just like her husband, really cares for these men. It is a very likable and winning performance. Director Mark-Alan C. Clemente... has directed his cast well in achieving well-rounded performances.  If you're not a football fan, don't worry—you'll still find much to like in Lombardi, as the themes of commitment, loyalty, and pride are universal. With some exceptional performances, the Desert Stages production of Lombardi scores a touchdown." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"Eric Simonson's Lombardi zeroes in on the pivotal moments of Lombardi's life prior to his ascent to legendary status ~ the zone between aspiration and football Olympus. And Desert Stages Theatre's production, directed by Mark-Alan C. Clemente is a surefire touchdown, featuring inspired performances by Timothy Pittman as Lombardi and Dyana Carroll as the coach's stalwart wife Marie.
Mr. Pittman delivers a powerhouse performance, but what nuances might be revealed in the coach's character and demeanor are overshadowed by the monochromatic bellowing of a raging bull. It requires the voices of others to depict the kinder gentler side of the complex man. ...Marie, whose salty, sassy, and sensitive character is delightfully etched by the stage-smart Ms. Carroll.
Lombardi is a refreshing and entertaining reflection on another perhaps simpler time and the man whom McCormick concludes is "the most imperfect, perfect man" he has ever met." -Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

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