Comparisons between sports and theater - between sports and any of the arts - can be odious, implying as they do that the goal of artists is the same as that of athletes: to win. Nonetheless, a sense of team spirit is useful in both endeavors, and when it's missing life backstage (and locker rooms are very much a backstage, no matter how many reporters appear there after games) can be deeply unpleasant. Good actors can surmount their private differences to produce a first-rate production, but most professionals would just as soon save the drama for the stage not the dressing room.
The above is a throat-clearing way of bringing you to the following fact: the cast of Broke-ology, which is in the final week of its run, is very much a team. They like each other as individuals, hang out sometimes after the show, and, I suspect, would not at all be averse to working with each other again should the theater gods decree.
I was reminded of the topic of theater and sports this past Sunday, before the matinee, when I was sitting backstage discussing the afternoon's NFL schedule with the play's stage manager, Rachel S. McCutchen. McCutchen - who comes from a football-mad state, Nebraska - helps coordinate Broke-ology's weekly NFL betting pool, entered into by a sometimes large, sometimes small group of cast, crew, and the occasional backstage blogger.
McCutchen has been too modest during the show's run to sit for a proper interview, but the other day she did go on the record, indirectly, about her NFL connection: her boyfriend, Corey Behnke, co-founded a very popular fansite dedicated to the Green Bay Packers. Called www.cheeseheadtv.com(for the non-sportive among you, Green Bay plays in Wisconsin, the dairy heartland, and their fiercest partisans are known as cheeseheads), it features every possible permutation on the Pack's colors, green and gold, as well as tons of helpful information and opinionated postings from commentators with names like "Brats and Beer Guy."
McCutchen told me that as far as she knew there were no major Packer fans in the Broke-ology cast or crew. Light-board operator Josh Rich is a Miami Dolphins fan, actor Francois Battiste has been known to root for the Chicago Bears, and yours truly must pledge allegiance to the New York Giants or face pain of excommunication at home.
Then there is Wendell Pierce, who play's the drama's paterfamilias. Pierce spends the intermission of most Sunday performances watching his home-town team, the New Orleans Saints, on the Internet. Pierce has reason to gloat this season, the Saints having yet to drop a game. And yet I suspect that if you asked him whether he'd have preferred being back home this fall watching the Saints live, or backstage at LCT, as part of Broke-ology, he'd opt for the Nathan Louis Jackson drama. But of course he didn't really have to choose completely: next week he goes back to the Big Easy, to resume shooting an HBO series, "Treme." Given the Saints' certain-to-make-the-playoffs status, there will be plenty of time for him to attend a game in person, though I doubt he'll witness as much team spirit there as he's seen the past few months at the Newhouse.
BRENDAN LEMON is the American theater critic for the Financial Times and the editor of lemonwade.com.