Emmy Winner Gordon Clapp Headlines "Tommy and Me"
Pictured Above: Cast of “Tommy and Me.” Photo Credit: Contributed.
NEWSROOM POST: NEW HOPE, PENNSYLVANIA
New Hope, PA – Emmy-winner and Tony-nominee Gordon Clapp, who played Detective Greg Medavoy for all 12 seasons on ABC’s “NYPD Blue,” will star as Tommy McDonald in a new production of Ray Didinger’s “Tommy and Me,” at Bucks County Playhouse, now through June 17. The show kicks off the Playhouse’s 2023 season — its 84th and the 11th since reopening in 2012.
Directed by Nick Corley, “Tommy and Me” recalls a seminal time in Didinger’s life when he helped his idol, Philadelphia Eagles legendary wide receiver Tommy McDonald, gain his place in the NFL Hall of Fame. The timing of the play also celebrates the recent success of The Philadelphia Eagles NFC Championship season and the excitement around the NFL draft.
Magical things can happen when a boy meets his sports idol. Legendary Sports journalist Ray Didinger’s lifelong relationship with famously tough, Philadelphia Eagles star wide receiver, Tommy McDonald, led both down an unexpected path — straight to Canton, OH and the National Football League’s Hall of Fame. “Tommy and Me” is a valentine to the relationship between sports stars and fans everywhere.
Gordon Clapp is thrilled to play this role as he was a huge Tommy McDonald fan when he was a young boy living in New England. He appeared on Broadway in the 2005 revival of “Glengarry, Glen Ross” for which he was nominated for a Tony. He received a Theatre World Award for his performance. Other Broadway credits include “The Great Society” (Lincoln Center) and “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Other theater credits include “Blood From A Stone,” and The New Group’s “Early History Of Fire” both Off- Broadway. Regional appearances include “Pru Payne” (Arizona Theatre Company), “Man In The Ring” (Huntington Theatre-IRNE Award), “A Christmas Carol,” “A Doll’s House,” “Trick Or Treat” (Northern Stage (VT) “Art”, “Our Town”, “On Golden Pond” (New London Barn), “Auld Lang Syne”, “Stella And Lou”, “Our Town” (Peterborough Players), “Dig” (Dorset Theatre Festival) and “Midvale High School 50th Reunion” (Nora Theatre). He was seen in the films “Return Of The Secaucus Seven,” “Eight Men Out,”“Matewan,” “Flags Of Our Fathers,” “Peter And John,” and “Game Plan.” In addition to “NYPD Blue” (12 seasons, Emmy, SAG Award), TV viewers know Clapp from appearances on “Damages,” “Chicago Fire,” “Mare Of Easttown,” “American Rust,” and “Deadwood.”
Pictured Above: Gordon Clapp, Karl Kenzler, and Matthew Lamb in “Tommy and Me.” Photo Credit: Contributed.
Starring opposite Clapp, is Broadway veteran Karl Kenzler in the role of Ray. Kenzler appeared on Broadway in the “Fiddler on the Roof” (2015 revival), “You Can’t Take It with You”, “Mary Poppins”, “Twelve Angry Men”, “The Caretaker”, “Dinner at Eight”, “The Heiress”, and others.
Rounding out the cast are William Bednar (“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” – San Francisco) as young adult Tommy, and Jacob Beser and Matthew Lamb (New York Theater Workshop’s “Merrily We Roll Along”) alternating in the role of Young Tommy. Understudies are Bruce Sabath (2006 Broadway revival of “Company”) and John Brodsky.
Jack Magaw (BCP’s “American Jade”) is Scenic Designer. Lighting Designer is Paul Miller (Broadway’s “Amazing Grace” and “The Illusionists”). Costume designer is Lisa Zinni (Broadway’s “Freestyle Love Supreme”). Joanna Lynne Staub (BCP’s “Dames at Sea”) is Sound Designer. Brian Pacelli (The Fulton’s “Five Guys Named Moe”) is Projection Designer. Rebecca Monroe is Production Stage Manager. April Ann Kline is Assistant Stage Manager. Casting is by Paul Hardt.
“This year The Philadelphia Eagles captured the attention of the entire region with a truly exciting season. When I saw the “Tommy and Me” a year ago, I was so moved I wanted to mount our own production,” says Alexander Fraser, Producing Director. “We hope to keep the spirit of the Eagles season going by revisiting this play and are excited to welcome football fans, and theater fans, back to the Playhouse.”
Pictured Above: Ray Didinger with Tommy McDonald. Photo Credit: Contributed.
“I’m delighted to bring the story of ‘Tommy and Me’ back to the Bucks County Playhouse,” says Ray Didinger, playwright and award-winning journalist. “We had a wonderful run there last spring. We had full houses almost every night with many in the audience wearing Eagles green, but the story of my friendship with Hall of Famer Tommy McDonald connected with even non-football fans. It’s a story about little boys, their heroes, and dreams coming true. Those are themes that will resonate with anyone.”
Ray Didinger was the first print journalist inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. As a columnist for the Philadelphia Bulletin and Philadelphia Daily News, he was named Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year five times. In 1995, he won the Dick McCann Award for long and distinguished reporting on pro football, and his name was added to the writers’ honor roll at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also won six Emmy Awards as a writer and producer for NFL Films. He has authored or co-authored twelve books including “One Last Read: The Collected Works of the World’s Slowest Sportswriter” (Temple) and “The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies.”
Tickets can be purchased at BucksCountyPlayhouse.org or by calling 215-862-2121.