Sunday, May 8, 2011

Old Glories in 'That Championship Season'

Brian Cox, Jason Patric, Jim Gaffigan, Chris Noth and Kiefer Sutherland are coach and winning team in "That Championship Season." Photos by Joan Marcus.


1973, Jason Miller won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony for “That Championship Season.”

Nearly 40 years later, the revival starring his son, Jason Patric, and a team of all-stars is still winning, intense and relevant. JP is joined by Chris Noth, Brian Cox, Jim Gaffigan and Kiefer Sutherland.

No one in this cast stands out, because everyone is outstanding! Under the direction of Gregory Mosher, and playing through 29 May, “That Championship Season” lights up the stage at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre with the promise and disappointments that are at its heart.

In “That Championship Season,” four players from a trophy-winning high school basketball squad meet at their Coach’s (BC) house for a 20th-year reunion. As a team, they were completely in sync, catching passes and making crucial plays. In the course of the alcohol-fueled evening, however, their dissension and disloyalty to each other becomes evident. (See videos at and

In "That Championship Season," the night wears on, the drinks flow, tongues loosen, and the painful truth comes out.

George Sikowski (JG) needs Phil Romano’s (CN) support in his re-election campaign for mayor of their small Pennsylvania town. Phil, who was born to riches and has amassed more by strip-mining his hometown, has yet to kick in the $30,000 George anticipates.

James Daley (KS) is a junior high school principal and George’s campaign manager – his future is in politics. Here is a man of many discomforts: he is uncomfortable with his dentures; his lack of sleep; his unfulfilled ambitions, etc. As KS plays him, James is an aggrieved man undeserving of any better.

All these years later, Coach continues to orchestrate the lives of the “championship” team, as he did on the court. For instance, he advises George about his campaign and his family. He ignores the fact, though, that these Jesuit-educated boys have grown up to be less than successful men; to do so would diminish him, for Coach has had far more influence on them than the brotherhood of priests.

Coach (Brian Cox, right) snaps a photo of his boys with the prized trophy in "That Championship Season."

Only James’ brother, Tom Daley (JP), a drunk who lives elsewhere and has “fallen down in 10 states,” sees the winning season and the winners clearly. Outsider Tom chides them for their hypocrisy, bigotries and ill-will. “The Jesuits will really be mad at you,” he warns as the evening winds down.

In “That Championship Season,” the victory is well-deserved. It is a rare pleasure to see an ensemble this good on stage.

Visit to learn more about “That Championship Season.”

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