Musical Inspired By The Life Of Knute Rockne Opens 7/21

Musical Inspired By The Life Of Knute Rockne Opens 7/21American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) and the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University announce the Equity cast members of Something in the Game: An All-American Musical, directed and choreographed by David H. Bell with book by Buddy Farmer, music by Michael Mahler and lyrics by David H. Bell and Michael Mahler. The production will run July 20 - August 5 at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the Northwestern Evanston campus. The Press Opening is Saturday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Stef Tovar, Adrian Aguilar, Dara Cameron, Rashada Dawan, James Earl Jones II, James Rank and Brandon Springman will lead a cast of 24 professional and student performers in a newly-updated version of the new musical inspired by the life of legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne.

The production is presented by special arrangement with Coaches, LLC, John Girardi and Greg Schaffert.

The design team includes Alan E. Schwanke (set), Jesse Klug (lighting), Robert Kuhn (costumes) and Christopher Kriz (sound). Orchestrations and Musical Direction is by Ryan Nelson.

Knute Rockne is regarded as one of the greatest football coaches of all time, with more than 100 victories and five undefeated seasons. But as he chased fame and glory for his Fighting Irish, he left his family waiting on the sidelines. The musical traces one man's journey to discover what is most important in the "game of life."

The project originated in 2008 with a Jeff-nominated production at Theatre at the Center in Munster, Indiana, under the title Knute Rockne All-American. Since then, Farmer, Bell and Mahler have developed the piece, adding new songs and reshaping the story.

David H. Bell comments, "It is very much a re-written version of the show. In addition to new songs there is more urgency around the difficulties of managing a successful sports career and family. While the show will appeal to football fans and theater patrons, almost everyone can relate to the struggle to find balance and the need to redefine 'winning' in life."

David H. Bell's (lyrics, director and choreographer) 30-year career has spanned a wide range of international and national projects as a director, choreographer, and author. As Artistic Director of the historic Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., David inaugurated such World Premiere musicals as Elmer Ganty, A Christmas Carol, (adaptor), and Hot Mikado (author-winner Helen Hayes Award, Best Director). His work at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Marriott Theatre, and Drury Lane Oakbrook has earned him 44 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations (winning the award 11 times). In New York City, David has directed both on and off Broadway, including the Diffa Tribute to Edith Head (Michael Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Julianne Moore, etc.), Heartstrings (Sandy Duncan, Patti LuPone, Salt N' Peppa, Sara Gilbert), and Give My Regards to Braodway at Carnegie Hall (Richard Kiley, Jule Styne, Carol Channing, Jerry Orback, Chita Rivera, Jerry Herman, George Abbott, etc.). Internationally, David has worked on London's West End on Hot Mikado (author- Laurence Olivier Award Nominee), Manchester's Bridgewater Hall, Berlin, Barcelona (for the 1992 Olympic Closing Ceremonies), the Harlem Gospel Singers and the Dirty Dancing Concert. As associate director to Kenny Leon at Atlanta's ALLIANCE THEATRE, David directed over twenty productions. David was the book writer with Craig Carnelia for Actor, Lawyer, Indian Chief and Studs Terkel's The Good War. David currently heads the Music Theatre Program at Northwestern University.

Michael Mahler (music and lyrics) is the award-winning Chicago-based composer/lyricist of Diary of A Wimpy Kid, October Sky, Hero (Jeff Award); The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes (Jeff Award), Wonderland: Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure, Something in the Game, Painted Alice, How Can You Run With a Shell on Your Back? and others. He contributed additional lyrics to Cameron Mackintosh's London and Broadway revivals of Miss Saigon and served as the original English lyricist of Boublil and Schönberg's La Revolution Francaise. Projects in development include Secret of My Success and Gravediggers Hamlet. Visit

Buddy Farmer (book), born in Florida and raised in Alabama, has the distinction of being the only playwright to play football for Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama. His writing credits include Coaches: off the bench with Knute, Vince and the Bear. The play received critical acclaim in Los Angeles and toured to Notre Dame, Milwaukee, San Francisco, the Super Bowl, and was the only play ever performed at The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Buddy wrote the Knute section into a TV mini-series that became the libretto for the musical Knute Rockne: All American. The musical premiered to rave reviews from Chicago critics and received two Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and is being developed as Something in the Game. Buddy's play The Barbecue was runner up in the New Works of Merit International Playwriting Contest and premiered in New York City. Alabama Baggage won honorable mention with the New Works of Merit and Ohio State University Playwriting Competition, before premiering in Los Angeles. His plays include The Viagra Monologues, Fore, Joey & Mare, Help, The Rose Garden and screenplays Rockne and All-Star. Buddy writes, directs and acts in Los Angeles. He is writing and directing the documentary film Send Chocolates and Marlboros. He is an active member of the Dramatists Guild of America and the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights. He resides in Laguna Beach with his wife Pamela and their three dogs Savannah, Rusty and Lilly.

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