Emmy-winner and Tony-nominee Gordon Clapp, who played Detective Greg Medavoy for all 12 seasons of ABC’s NYPD Blue, is starring as Tommy McDonald in a new production of Ray Didinger’s Tommy and Me at Bucks County Playhouse, 70 S. Main St., New Hope, May 19 through June 17. The show kicks off the Playhouse’s 2023 season — it’s 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. The show is a valentine to the relationship between sports stars and fans everywhere.
As a huge McDonald fan, Clapp is thrilled to play this role. 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. In addition to NYPD Blue, TV viewers know Clapp from appearances on Damages, Chicago Fire, Mare of Easttown, American Rust and Deadwood.
Starring opposite Clapp is Broadway veteran Karl Kenzler in the role of Ray. Kenzler appeared on Broadway in the 2015 revival of Fiddler on the Roof, You Can’t Take It With You and several other productions. Rounding out the cast is 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.
“This year, the Philadelphia Eagles captured the attention of the entire region with a truly exciting season. When I saw Tommy and Me a year ago, I was so moved I wanted to mount our own production,” said 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.”
“I’m delighted to bring the story of Tommy and Me back to the Bucks County Playhouse,” said 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.”
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 12 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.