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Lombardi, Wonder Years Star Dan Lauria Talks Sports & A Christmas Story Musical (VIDEO)

Posted on November 27, 2013 by Joe Gill
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Dan Lauria

ST&N was lucky enough to sit down with actor Dan Lauria of “Lombardi and “The Wonder Years fame to talk sports and acting. Lauria is currently narrating the musical version of “A Christmas Story”.

We asked him about his latest project, his incredible resume and even his interactions with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick:

ST&N: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?

Dan Lauria: It was actually when I was in college playing football at Southern Connecticut.  Constance Welch, a respected acting coach at Yale who also taught speech at Southern came up to me one day on campus and asked me if I wanted to be in a play. They needed a big guy to play Caliban in a production of William Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest.’” It then went from there.

ST&N: What’s your favorite memory from your time on the “Wonder Years”?

DL: It really was the cast, and how well we worked together and where they have gone on. Danica McKellar is a gifted actress but is a world class mathemetician and author. Fred Savage is an amazing director, Josh Saviano is one of the most accomplished lawyers in New York. Daniel Stern has had an amazing career. That is really the best thing. It was so well directed, so well written and the stories still resonate today. It was ahead of its time and it ended too soon.

ST&N: How did you get the role on “Lombardi”?

DL: I was asked to read for the part by Tommy Kail who was a friend and was directing it and they kept asking me to come back for readings. There was a lot of talk that the theater owners wanted a name to play the role to make the show a hot, like Julia Roberts or somebody (he joked). However as time went along the shows creators, Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo, kept talking to Tommy and the NFL and I was given the chance. It wasn’t like it was a stretch for me…I loved original plays, I was Italian from New York and of the right age and I knew football and coaching. They just needed to give it a chance and it worked. We had a great script, a great cast and a great director.

ST&N: What is your fave sports memory being a fan?

DL: I grew up a Giants and Yankees fan in the 1950′s and ’60′s, so there are many. I also got to meet Coach Lombardi at an awards banquet on Long island so that was a thrill as well. Getting ready for Lombardi and meeting and talking to the old packers and Redskins like Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff and Dave Robinson, that was as much a thrill as anything.

ST&N: What is your relationship with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick? How did you meet?

DL: We don’t have a relationship but coach and I have crossed paths a few times. We were all at a Giants-Patriots pre-season game and I got to speak to the coach briefly and I sent him a few notes because we have a common Wesleyan connection since Tommy Kail also went there and I also played college football in Connecticut. We also got to meet Tom Brady when he came to the show and he talked alot about Coach B and his relationship which mirrors the way Coach Lombardi was respected by so many of his players. They are both teachers, and that’s a great gift to have.

ST&N: Lastly, what interested you about the role of the narrator in A Christmas Story? Were you a fan of the movie?

DL: I play the narrator the part Gene Shepard plays in the film. I came to the part actually through Lombardi. One night Vince Vaughn came to see the show and was sitting near the Yankees TV voice, Michael Kay, and I was amazed at how tall they both were when I saw them in the audience. Afterwards they both were backstage and Vince talked about how much he loved the show. A few months later I got a call for a role in the Turner series “Sullivan and Son,” which Vince’s co-producing partner for Iron man and other things, Peter Billingsley, was doing. I got that part and it is now coming back for its third season by the way. Peter then told me while we were taping the show that he was going to do “Christmas Story” and would I be interested and I was. We did the first run last year and now we return to New York again later this month after finishing at the Wang Theater.

I always knew and watched the movie, and what I loved about it and about the musical is that it has much of the same themes as Lombardi did…it is about the relationship that builds between guys, be they father and son or teammates.  That’s what I think guys will love about the show…that special relationship because in the end, only the old man knew how important the BB gun was to Ralphie, and its that special moment in the story, like in sports, that makes the show go so well.

 

A Christmas Story The Musical Logo

We would like to thank Dan for his time and be sure to catch him performing “A Christmas Story” Be sure not to shoot your eye out though!

 

 


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