Thursday, April 7, 2011

LOMBARDI: The Show Starts in the Lobby

After a few fits and starts, I finally had an opportunity to see LOMBARDI on Broadway.

My parents were in New York for the birth of their granddaughter, and I took my stepfather to see it as a "thank-you" for all the help he's given us. I'll post a full review of the show itself soon, but I wanted to begin with a quick examination of the æsthetics of the theatre itself.

LOMBARDI is playing at the Circle in the Square Theatre on 50th Street between 8th Avenue and Broadway, right in the heart of midtown Manhattan's Theatre District.

The first thing one notices, approaching the building, is the 15-foot poster bearing the granite profile of Saint Vince.

Following the Super Bowl, the show's producers added the gold banner across the poster, proclaiming:
The Legacy Continues. See Where It All Began.
The shout-outs to the Packers continue at the door:

A flight of stairs takes us down to the lobby, decorated in the floor-to-ceiling photographs of past glory.

On one wall hang three game-worn jerseys. From left: Bart Starr; Ray Nitschke; and Jim Taylor.

The Starr and Nitschke jerseys are from the 1970s, es evidenced by the relatively short sleeves, mesh material and silkscreened sleeve stripes.

Nitschke's jersey also features his name across the back. NoBs were added to all NFL jerseys starting in 1970 as a condition of the NFL–AFL Merger.

The Taylor jersey is dated to 1966 and features the heavier durene material of Lombardi's era, as well as three-quarter sleeves and knit stripes.

Durene jerseys were made out of a heavy cotton or cotton/synthetic blend fabric treated with a chemical called durene, in the process making the fabric more durable and able to stand up better to the rigors of game use. It also gave the material its distincive heft and sheen.

Opposite the jerseys we find a display case containing rare gems from the glory days, including a game-worn Lombardi nylon sideline jacket.

They've also borrowed a relic from the Hall of Fame in Canton, a section of the Packers' bench from the last game Lombardi coached at Lambeau Field. December 31, 1967, otherwise known as the "Ice Bowl."

The bench had been "liberated" by Packers fan Bob Kaminski in the post-game scrum as all Northern Wisconsin celebrated their win over the Cowboys. Kaminski donated it to the Hall of Fame eight years later, where it has been on display in the "Enshrinee Mementos Room".

Lots of history on display downstairs at Circle in the Square.

All of this before we even enter the theatre.

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