The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team won’t be coming to Evanston until this November, but you can catch them at the Wirtz Center through August 5! In the new musical Something in the Game, currently running in the Wirtz Center’s Louis Theatre, the story of legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne is brought to life on stage. Something in the Game features a talented cast of 24 performers, including Northwestern students, recent alumni, and several professional Equity actors.
The project is a continuation of work by Buddy Farmer (book), Michael Mahler (music and lyrics), and David H. Bell (lyrics) that started with a production of an early iteration of the show (then called Knute Rockne: All American) at Theatre at the Center in Indiana in 2008. This production, directed by Bell, includes several new songs and has a renewed focus on the tensions between on-field glory and off-the-field responsibilities. The show traces the story of Knute Rockne (Stef Tovar) from his beginnings as a Notre Dame student through his meteoric rise to the top of the college football universe as the coach of the Fighting Irish, while shining a light on his relationships with his wife Bonnie (Dara Cameron), his son Billy (Charlie Herman), and his star quarterback George Gipp (Adrian Aguilar).
The choreography (by Bell) weaves traditional musical theatre choreography with athletic moves that looked straight out of a football practice. Standout performances included James Earl Jones II as “Jimmy the Goat” (a scene-stealing local nightclub owner), and Rashada Dawan as his wife Thelma. The student ensemble, when not decked out in period-appropriate leather football helmets, appear as students, reporters, and nightclub dancers. Alan E. Schwanke’s inventive set, Robert Kuhn’s detailed costumes, and Jesse Klug’s lighting make for a visually appealing, constantly shifting stage picture that takes the audience through many different settings and locations.
Something in the Game’s final weekend of shows will take place on Thursday, August 2 through Sunday, August 5. The production is produced in partnership with Coaches LLC, Jack Girardi, Greg Schaffert, and the American Music Theatre Project. For more information, and for showtimes and tickets, visit the Wirtz Center website!