Arts and Entertainment

Readers Theatre Plus plays out football coach's rise

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Legendary coach Vince Lombardi comes to Sequim not to coach on the gridiron but to grace its stage.

 

Readers Theatre Plus presents “Lombardi,” a re-imagining of a part of the coach's life and career with the Green Bay Packers.

 

For two weekends at the Old Dungeness Schoolhouse, Vern Frykholm plays the iconic character as he and his wife, Marie Lombardi, played by Phyllis Rainwater, are interviewed for a magazine story by reporter Michael McCormick (Rob Sommers).

 

The story interweaves Lombardi's coaching time, flashbacks to a time he considered quitting and McCormick's interviews with Lombardi. Conflict arises between the coach and reporter, but through the players and Marie Lombardi, McCormick gains a better understanding of the coach for his news story.

 

Eric Simonson who adapted the piece for the stage, based his work on the book “When Pride Still Mattered” by David Maraniss.

 

Frykholm, whom some might know for his one-man show about George Washington, said there are a lot of similarities between the first president and Lombardi.

 

“They are both strong men of principle and both looked at the larger picture of life,” he said.

 

“With Washington he didn't just look at one state but the whole U.S., but sublimated who you are for the greater good.”

 

He adds that Lombardi did the same through his players by directing them to give everything all the time.

“A lot of players didn't love him at first because of his methodology, but once they understood they bought into the system,” Frykholm said.

 

“Lombardi” director Jim Dries says the coach was an idealist.

 

“He wanted everyone treated fairly,” Dries said. “Even in a time like the (segregated) late 1950s and 1960s, he had his players eat in the same restaurants and they slept in the same hotels.”

 

In the play, Dries said there are a lot of human elements that anyone can love whether or not they like football or sports in general.

 

“Like 'Friday Night Lights (TV show),' football is a key ingredient but this has more of a human approach with the families and people involved,” he said.

 

Other performers include Jeff Clinton as Jim Taylor, Jonas Brown as Paul Hornung, Joel Yelland as Dave Robinson, Rebecca Horst as the narrator and Carl Honore as the broadcaster.

 

All proceeds from the show benefit the Sequim under-18 baseball program.

 

 


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