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Aurora Theatre brings ‘Lombardi’ to its stage

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Bart Hansard plays Coach Vince Lombardi in the Aurora Theatre’s production of “Lombardi.” (Special Photo: Chris Bartelski)

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Bart Hansard plays Vince Lombardi and Carolyn Cook plays his wife Marie in the Aurora Theatre’s production of “Lombardi.” (Special Photo: Chris Bartelski)

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Bart Hansard plays Coach Vince Lombardi in the Aurora Theatre’s production of “Lombardi.” (Special Photo: Chris Bartelski)

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The Aurora Theatre’s latest production is “Lombardi,” starring Bart Hansard as the Green Bay Packers coach. (Special Photo: Chris Bartelski)

Vince Lombardi is considered one of the best and most successful coaches in NFL history.

But who was the man off the football field?

The Aurora Theatre’s latest production, “Lombardi,” explores that question. Written by Eric Simonson and based on the book “When Pride Still Mattered — A Life of Vince Lombardi,” the play introduces audiences to the Green Bay Packers coach (played by Bart Hansard) through the eyes of journalist Michael McCormick (played by Chris Moses), who is writing a story on the temperamental man who has turned a losing team around.

Justin Anderson, the show’s director, said the play’s storyline is two-fold.

“First, it’s deconstructing the myth of the man, unveiling the mystique of somebody who we sort of hold on this pedestal as one of the greatest coaches of all time,” he said. “And you realize through the course of the play that he was just a human being. He has his own vices, was not a perfect person by any means.

“But the second part of the story and, really, what I think the catalyst and the true narrative is it’s almost a surrogate father-son relationship,” Anderson said.

That dynamic is played out between Lombardi and McCormick, alongside a cast of characters that add emotion, depth and excitement to the play, from Lombardi’s wife, Marie (played by Carolyn Cook), to Packers players Jim Taylor (played by Jacob York), Dave Robinson (portrayed by John Stewart) and Paul Hornung (played by Brody Wellmaker).

“(Audiences can expect) a fast-paced, brisk sense of almost cinematic storytelling because it’s a series of scenes that sort of bleed into the next ones,” Anderson said. “I think it’s probably unexpectedly very funny … I think it’s also balanced with some pathos and some moments that will kind of grip your heart.”