For Reece Madigan, playing football legend Paul Hornung in the Milwaukee Rep’s Lombardi taught him a lot about team building–and himself. “The cast, especially the football players have become close, he says. “Life does imitate art.”
Lombardi, which opens Oct. 14 and runs through November 13 at the Milwaukee Rep, is based on the bestseller When Pride Still Mattered by Wisconsin native and Pulitzer Prize winner, writer and editor David Maraniss. Madigan plays Hornung with the help of some padding (he’s 5’11″, Hornung is 6’3″) but the real endurance test has been capturing the man’s spirit and zest for the game. “Lombardi always said that Hornung could smell the goal line,” Madigan points, overlooking the set from a conference room during tech rehearsals. “He was a cool customer with a spine of iron.” The play Lombardi deals with a critical time in the legendary coach’s career as he comes to Green Bay to turn around the losing team. It’s his first time as a head coach (as we well know, the rest is history).
“You see Paul as more of a teammate. Lombardi would curse him out and [Hornung] would take it,” Madigan explains. ” Lombardi was a father figure to ‘his boys’ and the saying goes, ‘he would treat his players all the same–like dogs.’”
For Madigan, doing the research on Hornung has been a “real joy” and at the same time, “Humbling and intimidating to play a demigod.” He adds: It’s also humbling to do this in front a Milwaukee audience.”
With the Packers on a streak (5-0) as of current blogtime, chances are good that they’ll be plenty of fans rooting for all the players on stage and off field.
Keith Urban at the Bradley Center: for the many fans in attendance at the Aussie country rocker’s show Thursday night, Keith Urban gave of himself and his music-literally. In all the years of seeing performers across the musical genres, Urban delivered a high energy 1 1/2 hour show filled with hits as well as some obscure gems and teasing covers (a light acoustic version of Sir Paul’s “Silly Love Songs”). But this guy travels and for fans it was up close and personal. Urban literally moved through the Bradley Center, setting up mic stands to sing in the middle, up in remote areas and even autographed and handed a guitar to a shocked yet delighted fan.
Using state of the art technology, Urban and his four piece outfit were backed by a sideways “roller coaster” of lights that moved flawlessly while a gigantic center circle in the midst broadcast the band and Urban. What a show, what a production and what a talented and nice guy.
Comin’ Up: Milwaukee Chamber Theatre offers up the now classic “Driving Miss Daisy” featuring Ruth Schudson as Miss Daisy along with Michael Torrey and Jonathan West. C. Michael Wright directs. Runs through Oct. 30.