This intriguing four-character play takes place in the lobby of a New York apartment building in 1999. The hero of the title is Jeff (Michael Cera), the security guard on the graveyard shift. The actor drapes his slight frame in an Armani of tics. The beguiling Mr. Cera deftly delivers both comic and tragic lines. He is sweet and powerful, a soul struggling toward redemption. You believe... Read more
The renowned off-Broadway company Second Stage Theater re-opens the Hayes Theater (formerly Helen Hayes Theatre) and launches its inaugural Broadway season with Academy Award winner Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero. Under the direction of Trip Cullman, the play marks the Broadway debut of "Captain America" star Chris Evans and a Broadway return for "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" star Michael Cera, who previously appeared in the 2014 Broadway revival of This Is Our Youth. Emmy Award nominee Brian Tyree Henry and Bel Powley complete the Broadway cast.
Expertly constructed by one of theatre and film's most talented contemporary writers, Lobby Hero follows the interpersonal relationships between two police officers (a male, self-assured veteran and a female rookie) and two security guards of a Manhattan apartment building lobby. The drama eventually unfolds as all four become entangled in a murder investigation enquiry that explores ideas of morality, loyalty, and police corruption. However, Lonergan's script has plenty of comic bite to it, which is largely played out to great effect by Michael Cera as the awkward, yet chatty Jeff. Cera is once again in his element, perfectly cast as a scrawny, 27-year old, unambitious security guard, who constantly protests he is not a doorman. Chris Evans also plays the brutish, chauvinistic Bill with a sly sense of comedy, straying away from his usual heroic protagonist roles and portraying something as detestable as it is instantly recognizable. There is no doubt, we are laughing at him and not with him. Bel Powley's portrayal of young, feisty Dawn clearly sets her up as the underdog of the piece and she cleverly finds ways of puffing out her chest like a small rodent trying to make itself appear bigger. Finally, Brian Tyree Henry revels in the most versatile character of the play as William, displaying elements of sheer confidence (in his position of authority over Jeff), of cautiousness and of moments of desperation at his predicament. Should he provide a false alibi to protect a close family member? What would we do in his shoes?
David Rockwell's scenic design is minimalistic and judged to perfection with a rotating stage that enables interior and exterior scenes to flow into each other effortlessly, skillfully avoiding any problematic sightline issues. And Second Stage Theater has accomplished a great feat in the renovation and modernisation of The Hayes Theater; its stylish new home on the Great White Way. With Lobby Hero, Second Stage's Broadway journey is off to a great start.
(Header Photo by Mark Selinger / Production Photos by Joan Marcus)
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What happens when emotions come in conflict with principles, and how do choices under pressure define who we really are? The lobby of a Manhattan apartment building is much more than a waiting area for four New Yorkers involved in a murder investigation. It's a testing ground for what happens when personal and professional personas find themselves at odds. A young security guard with big ambitions clashes with his stern boss, an intense rookie cop and her unpredictable partner.