Broadway Features and Reviews
The Woman Behind the Football Legend
By Kristin Frosch, Broadway Magazine
Lombardi, based on the biography, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, by David Maraniss, is set for its Broadway debut. As much as the play celebrates the well-known achievements of the legendary Green Bay Packers coach, it genuinely serves as a commentary on family dynamics, love, and timeless devotion.
The relationship between Vince and his wife Marie is a true love story for the ages. Meeting at Fordham University in New York where they both attended, Marie was Vince's only girlfriend. She is said to have awakened his romantic spirit and inspired him to reach for his goals and follow his dreams.
Coming from a wealthy family where her father was a stockbroker for the New York Stock Exchange, Marie experienced instant tension from the moment she announced her relationship with Vince. Her father strongly disapproved of the prospects of her marrying the son of an Italian butcher from Brooklyn. Despite these initial troubles, the two were married in 1940. Their love ensued until Vince's death of aggressive colon cancer on September 3, 1970 with Marie at his side. Their romance continued for 30 years, even after his death, until Marie lost her battle with a lung infection on April 17, 1982. Vince and Marie were survived by two children.
Marie stood by Vince's side from his coaching job at Fordham University, The U.S. Military Academy, The New York Giants NFL team, and eventually The Green Bay Packers in 1958. Despite the fact that she often felt neglected and a second string to football, their devotion to each other kept their marriage alive, in spite of constant relocation. In the play, Marie is often shown with a glass of alcohol, a self-medicating coping strategy. In the Broadway play, Judith Light, best known for her roles on the TV series, "Who's The Boss," "Ugly Betty," and "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," will play Marie. Her dedication to portraying Marie's strong minded character and devotional will to her husband is sure to come across in the production.
"He listened to Marie all the time," said Light, "She had his ear. They were a real power couple. He trusted her advice and she loved his commitment to winning. He was the King of Green Bay, and she was his Queen."
Although she was not particularly fond of the constant separation, her attachment to him allowed her to be Vince's motivation and driving force behind all of his decisions. Marie helped him to become one of the most inspirational personalities, with unparalleled leadership ability and strength.
"She knew out of her commitment and love for him, she was going to go wherever he was going to go. Marie Lombardi is every bit as complex and as complicated a person as Vince was," mentioned Judith Light.
She was the relationship that shaped Vince's life. She was his stronghold and right hand. Marie was the one on the sidelines though all of his struggles and successes. Behind Vince's name on the Super Bowl trophy was Marie's.
Broadway's Lombardi will debut at the Circle In The Square Theatre on October 21. The play is sure to inspire the young and young at heart.
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