That Championship Season
In the second act of That Championship Season, one of characters vomits into a trophy commemorating the high school state basketball championship win by the assembled group of dissolute men from a small Pennsylvania town some 20 years ago. It's an apt metaphor for the state of the men's lives vividly depicted in this riveting revival of the 1972 Pulitzer-Prize winning Season, which opened March 6 on Broadway. The years since their Glory Days have not been kind to the group – which features a full-firmament of Hollywood stars including Kiefer Sutherland, Chris Noth, comedian Jim Gaffigan and Jason Patric, whose late father Jason Miller wrote the play.
Season, which was written in the scorching crucible of early '70s protest against the white male patriarchy, depicts a world drenched in testosterone and self-loathing. Gaffigan plays George Sikowski, a small-town mayor running for re-election who discovers that his one-time teammate, town millionaire Phil Romano (Noth), is sleeping with his wife. Romano is the self-absorbed focus of loathing for all the characters. James Daley (Sutherland) is a town principal ready to break into politics by challenging Sikowski. James' brother Tom (Patric) is the requisite town drunk. They are united only by their desire to commemorate the anniversary of their high school win and the quiet desperation of their current lives.
The men are at war with each other and would take each other's lives were it not for the intervention of their Coach (Brian Cox) who make hollow invocations of their past brotherhood. Season is a stunning reminder that the old American order was as tinny from the inside as it appeared from the exterior.
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