The Legendary Al McGuire Comes Alive at Stackner Cabaret
“If you’re doing things right, you’re doing things good,” repeats Alfred James “Al” McGuire during the course of the one-man show McGuire at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Stackner Cabaret. And the legendary Marquette University basketball coach certainly proved this on and off the court.
McGuire coached the Marquette men’s basketball team from 1964-1977, culminating in a national championship and a reputation as a fiercely competitive coach who cared for the game and his players.
Thanks to the multi-faceted talents of actor Anthony Crivello (himself a Milwaukee native and Marquette alum), we learn much about the man and the coach over the course of 80 minutes. Crivello’s high-energy performance reveals the highs and lows of McGuire’s life thanks in large part to the friendship and access sportscaster Dick Enberg had in writing the script. (The two hosted men’s college basketball for NBC Sports in the late ’70s along with colleague Billy Packer.)
Crivello is at the top of his game portraying the blunt, loud, no-holds-barred McGuire. The actor deftly navigates between the screaming, swearing on-court coach who would foul himself out of games to the introspective, vulnerable man who lets the audience in on his “unsaintly” ways as if we’re hearing a well-kept secret. Director Brent Hazelton (Liberace!) clearly understands the intimacy and pressures of a one-man show and McGuire is a slam-dunk hit as a result.
“I never saw color. I only saw character. Cuz that’s what I was looking for,” says McGuire talking about his players. And what we see in McGuire is a man who, given his own character, found a way to win at life against all odds.
Through March 19 at the Stackner Cabaret, 108 E. Wells St. For more information call 414-224-9490 or visit milwaukeerep.com.