The Disappearing Quarterback

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January 16 – February 2, 2014

Mike Boryla was the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1974-1976. He had everything he wanted, but he didn’t want what he had. Two years later, he quit professional football and… disappeared! In a World Premiere one-man show, he returns to Philadelphia for the first time in over 35 years to tell the story of walking away from the sport and the teammates he loved. With the average life-span of a professional football player being 55 (Time Magazine, 2010), the effects of concussions becoming ever more clear, and even our president speaking out against its future, should “America’s Game”… disappear? A play for football fanatics and novices alike and set in the intimate Skinner Studio, The Disappearing Quarterback puts you inside the helmet of a unique athlete, a self-described “long-haired hippie,” with a passionate purpose and a story to share as he comes home to the city that made him famous.

About the Performer

Mike Boryla was a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles during the  1974-76 seasons  and for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1977 to 1978. He was an All-American at Stanford University. In the 1976 Pro Bowl he threw two touchdown passes in the final minutes of the game to lead the National Football Conference team to a 23-20 win. . He has recently morphed into a writer. In the last few years he has written seven plays: Long Ago And Far Away, Shannon’s Hope, Ministers Of Satan, The Clone, Overtime, Black Oak and The Disappearing Quarterback. Long Ago And Far Away will be staged sometime in 2013 by Inspire Creative at the PACE Theatre in Parker, Colorado. He is happily married to Ann with four sons (Daniel, Tim, Pete and Ryan) and living small somewhere in Colorado. For the last 26 years he has been a director of Shannon’s Hope, a Christian home for unwed mothers in Arvada, Colorado.

Check out an interview with Mike Boryla on football, theater and his return to Philly, first aired on Comcast Sports Nite.

Video courtesy of BNProducers.

Get informed before you see the show. Click below to download a copy of our Disappearing Quarterback education packet.

Education Packet

Ticketing Information

Full price tickets: $25 in advance, $30 at the door

In the Third Floor Skinner Studio

  • Wednesday and Thursdays at 7pm
  • Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm
  • Saturdays at 2pm
  • Sundays at 3pm

Special Events

Conversation with the Community: Topics at Play in the Real World (EAGLES ADDITION!)
Friday, January 17th
Plays & Players partners with local voices who can explore the play’s themes in a practical setting.  Eagles press will join in the conversation; current guests include Pro Football Hall of Fame Sportswriter Ray Didinger and special guest Mike Benedetto of the New York State Legislature (who has sponsored a bill to ban youth football.) Gain a more immediate perspective for how elements of the show play out in today’s Philadelphia and beyond.

The Players: An Artist Talkback
Sunday, January 19th
Join Mike Boryla for an informal talkback after the show, moderated by director Daniel Student. Also welcome local playwrights David Robson and Michele Aldin Kushner to discuss “What is a playwright in the 21st Century?” What benefits does theater provide for people like Mr. Boryla, who have their own personal stories to tell, instead of the more common realms of books, film, and TV.

Conversation with the Community: Topics at Play in the Real World (EAGLES ADDITION!)
Friday, January 24th
Plays & Players partners with local voices who can explore the play’s themes in a practical setting in a post-show talkback.  Former Eagles players will join in the conversation; current guests include three time Pro-Bowler Charle Young, Pro Bowl linebacker Frank LeMaster, hometown hero Kevin Reilly, 1980’s star Eagles tight end John Spagnola and Eagles Hall of Fame Director of Ticket Services Leo Carlin. Gain a more immediate perspective for how elements of the show play out in today’s Philadelphia.

Post-Show Classroom: Go Back To School with Local Professors
Wish you could go back to college and really analyze a play, its themes, and its ideas? Stay after the show for a panel of guest professors who will shed light on the play. And pay attention, there might just be a pop quiz at the end.

Saturday, January 25th (Matinee performance)

Current guests for Jan. 25 include Dr. James T. Reese Jr., Associate Professor of Sports Management at Drexel University and Dr. J. Milo Sewards, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at Temple University.

Sunday, January 26th

Current guests for Jan. 26 include Dr. Heidi Freeman, Program Director of Exercise Science and Wellness Management and Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at University of Sciences; Doug Horton, Lecturer, Department of Biokinetics, Clinical Coordinator, Athletic Training Education Program and Director of Life Fitness Program at Eastern University; and Dr. Beth Linker, Associate Professor at The University of Pennsylvania in the Department of History and Sociology of Science.

Filming the Show
Thursday, January 30th

Want to be part of the beginning? Join us for the first filming of the production, which will be used to promote Mike Boryla’s ability to take the show to other cities in the United States, and maybe even abroad!

Creative Team

Daniel Student (Director) serves as Producing Artistic Director at Plays & Players, for whom he has directed Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet, Bloody Bloody Andrew JacksonJoe Turner’s Come and Gone, A New BrainTake Me OutEarly in the Mourning, and Oleanna, and starred as Shakespeare in William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead. Other programs he has created at Plays & Players include the Philly Fringe Preview Series, the Philly Bake-Off and PIFA New Play Festival, and the Emerging Artists in Residence (EAR) program. His show he co-created and co-performed with Jennifer MacMillan and R. Eric Thomas, Overexposed: A Slightly Awkward Peep Show enjoyed five sold out performances with Quince Productions before going to the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe (also starring Jamison Foreman.) He re-mounted Overexposed in 2013, as well as performing a new show with Ms. MacMillan and Mr. Thomas, (in)voluntary commitment. “Superheroes Who Are Super!,” a classic comic book staged reading series which he created, produced, and frequently directed, won Best In Philly from Philadelphia Magazine in 2010. Other recent directing credits include Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead (Philly Fringe), The Pillowman (Bootless Artworks), and Bug (All College Theatre at The College of New Jersey). He is a graduate of Vassar College and attended the 2007 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab.

Set Design by Danielle FergusonCostume Design by Jill KeysLighting Design by Amanda JensenSound Design by John KolbinskiProjection Design by Mike Long, Animation by Emily HomrokStage Management by Lauren Tracy, and Assistant Stage Management by Lena Barnard

Need a Place to Stay?

La Reserve Bed and Breakfast is offering a 10% discount special to all Disappearing Quarterback ticket holders. La Reserve is located on 18th and Pine Streets, just a block away from Plays & Players. Please call La Reserve Bed and Breakfast to make arrangements.