SBD/Issue 41/Sports & Society

Tony Ponturo Announces Plans For Play Based On Lombardi's Life

Ponturo Co-Producing
Adaptation Of Lombardi Book
Ponturo Management Group (PMG) CEO Tony Ponturo and music producer Fran Kirmser today announced they have teamed to bring the life story of Pro Football HOFer Vince Lombardi to the stage in a new play titled "Lombardi." The play will be written by playwright Eric Simonson and is based on the biography "When Pride Still Mattered," which was written by David Maraniss. Simonson won an Academy Award for his documentary on the life of radio writer and producer Norman Corwin. "Lombardi" will debut on Broadway in fall '10 (PMG). Ponturo said, "We have to be true to those who want good dramatic works like 'God of Carnage' and 'August: Osage County' while exciting the sport and NFL fan." The idea for the play came to Ponturo and Kirmser in May when they "discussed collaborating on a sports play." Simonson said that the play "would be a closer adaption of Maraniss's biography" than "Lombardi/The Only Thing," a play he wrote in '07 for the Madison Repertory Theatre.  Meanwhile, in N.Y., Richard Sandomir noted Ponturo "recently discussed what the league could do for 'Lombardi' with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell." NFL VP/Entertainment, Marketing & Promotions Tracy Perlman said Lombardi is "what the NFL is all about." Sandomir noted the league "could boost ticket sales simply by giving the play a spot on to promote itself." Perlman: "Does it mean a licensing agreement, a partnership or a marketing agreement? We're in the early stages" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/7). Ponturo said, “I can see some (joint NFL) merchandising with the play, along with ways we could co-market the show, and maybe they (the NFL) could use the theater to display NFL and Lombardi memorabilia,” he said. Ponturo’s first two plays as a co-producer were the musicals “Hair” and “Memphis.” "I assure you this will not be a musical," he laughed. “Lombardi was a great football character, but this is really more about life and life lessons than football” (Terry Lefton, THE DAILY).  

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