Lombardi Comes to Life During a ‘Reading’

by JC Paustian, owner of Just Act Natural

When my brother asked me to go with him to a “reading” of the Broadway play Lombardi at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in downtown Appleton, I thought it would be, at the least, a different way to spend 90 minutes of my Friday night.  In other words, the bar wasn’t set too high.  Yeah, I love the Packers.  I love Lombardi’s coaching style and personality, but a “reading” of the play?  Ok, fine, I’ll go.

lombardiThe show was “read” by the original Broadway cast and is based on the fictitious account of a magazine reporter who spends one week with the Lombardi’s at their home and on the practice field.

The cast first went to Green Bay for two shows inside Lambeau Field and then came to Appleton for a three-day, five-show appearance July 28-30.

The show itself, which features only six characters, ran for eight months to glowing reviews in New York City.  Vince Lombardi is played by Dan Lauria, who is most famous for his role on TV as the dad in The Wonder Years.

As I envisioned what a “reading” would look like, I figured the actors would stand on stage, no costumes, and read from podiums.  Sounds very exciting.

My brother and I were among the sold-out crowd in the Kimberly-Clark Theater at the PAC.  Every seat is a good seat and no one is too far from the stage.

As the actors took the stage, there they were IN COSTUME!  It looked like the ghost of Lombardi was right there in front of us.  Lauria looked the part to a T.  And then there were the Packers characters of Paul Hornung, Dave Robinson and Jim Taylor, all dressed in sweats.  Also on stage were the characters of Marie Lombardi, Vince’s wife, and the fictitious reporter, Michael McCormick.

They all had the individual manuscripts that they held onto, but not a single time did any of the actors reference their binders.  In one scene Marie used the manuscript binder as an atlas prop as she’s trying to find Green Bay.  One of many hilarious scenes.

Once Laurie started talking I knew this was going to be something special.  Scratch that.  Not talking; acting.  This was no “reading.”  This was a first-class Broadway show minus the props and sets.  Laurie is a seasoned actor on stage, on TV and in film.  He was brilliant!  His performance was the best live acting I’ve ever seen.

About halfway through the performance, I kept thinking about my father, who passed away 5-1/2 years ago and how he would’ve thoroughly enjoyed this play.  I can just picture and hear him laughing dozens of times during the show.

He was sports editor of The Post-Crescent for more than 30 years and covered hundreds of Packers games in his life, including the tenure of Vince Lombardi.  My dad even reminded me of Lombardi sometimes with his glasses, trench coach, fedora and yes, even his yelling.

It was a great show through and through, and I thank my brother for inviting me to the show and the PAC for getting the actors to perform.  I hope the PAC can get the full-blown Lombardi show sometime down the road, but if not, I am quite content with my “reading.”

Farm Market Kangaroostaurant Painting

This is the completed artwork from artist Daniel Green of the new local food truck, Kangaroostaurant at the farm market. Kangaroostaurant owners Kelly and Jay shared this quote with us.

We are so excited about this painting and the sense of community it portrays. Thank you Downtown Appleton for managing such an amazing Farm Market right here in APPLETON!!!

Look for the Kanagaroostaurant local food truck at the end of S. Oneida St. every Saturday from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm  during the Downtown Appleton Farm Market.

Brazilian Tarp Backpacks & Bags at Vagabond Imports

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Vagabond Imports is featuring Brazilian Tarp Backpacks and bags.  These tarp bags are handmade in a remote small town in rural Brazil. The material is recycled canvas tarps that once stretched across the beds of cross-country cargo trucks hauling open freight. Recycled tarps are used in an effort to cut down on the wasting of the world’s resources – and yes, also because they happen to look really, really cool.

The fabric in the bags most likely has traveled from the Amazon out to São Paulo and back again, slogging through sudden deluges of blinding rain, and being baked and broiled in scalding heat, whipped by harsh salt winds, assaulted by road debris and sometimes even stamped upon in Portuguese with waterproof black ink.

Which is to say there’s nothing you can do to these one-of-a-kind hats and bags that hasn’t already been done before. So don’t worry about taking care of these bags; they will take care of you.

Keep up with the latest from Vagabond Imports on Facebook

Grand Union Performs Thursday at Heid Music Summer Concert

Move and groove to the music of the summer at our FREE Concerts featuring local and regional bands on center stage at Houdini Plaza in Downtown Appleton (the corner of College Avenue and Appleton Street).

Grand Union is our featured band on Thursday, July 28 at Houdini Plaza.

The concert is Thursday night from 5:30 – 8:30 PM

Your favorite adult malt beverages, soda and water will all be available, along with food from your favorite Downtown bars, restaurants and vendors in the park.

Grand Union’s website features more information about the band.

The Heid Music Summer Concert Series runs every Thursday evening in Houdini Plaza thru August 25th.  The full concert schedule is available on our Appleton Downtown events page.

Johnson Bank Downtown Cool Trolley

Park once and travel the Downtown & Riverfront!

This free trolley makes a complete loop of Downtown and the Riverfront every 20 minutes with 12 scheduled stops along the way. Look for the black, green and red trolley stop signs! There is a stop in front of the East Ramp on Washington Street so you can conveniently park in that ramp for just two dollars and then ride the trolley to your favorite restaurant and retailer. Running Thursday – Saturday, it’s the perfect way to get around Downtown and to our beautiful Riverfront. Take the trolley to enjoy the sights, sounds and delicious smells of our vibrant area.

And a ride on the trolley makes Art On The Town, the Heid Music Summer Concerts and the Downtown Appleton Farm Market even more special!

Thursday and Friday 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Dates: The Trolley runs June 2 through September 22.