THE CHIEF by Rob Zellers and Gene Collier. Pittsburgh Public Theater. Through Nov. 7.
The Chief returns! This one-person bio-play, in which an actor portrays the Pittsburgh Steelers’ founder and longtime owner Art Rooney, has been a favorite since it premiered at Pittsburgh Public Theater in 2003. Now The Public presents a new version. Writers Rob Zellers and Gene Collier have revised their script to bring out parts of Rooney’s colorful life that weren’t so fully treated before. Also, actor Philip Winters inherits the role played memorably by Tom Atkins in the past. Winters, a theater professor at Point Park University, has decades of experience on stage including a key qualification. He has performed The Chief previously, in a production at Saint Vincent Summer Theatre, which equips him to fill the role of a unique character. The late Art Rooney was a multitalented athlete when young: an AAU boxing champ, as well as a hard-nosed football player who used racetrack winnings to start a team of his own. Rooney kept the Steelers going through decades of misfortune until they became Super Bowl champions—and, among the oft-squabbling NFL team owners, he was known as the man who stood for doing what’s right. See The Chief at The Public’s O’Reilly Theater. 7:30 p.m. 621 Penn Ave., Cultural District.