Oscar winner Kenneth Lonergan's ('Manchester by the Sea') 2001 drama comes to Broadway in Second Stage's new production staring Michael Cera ('Juno'), Chris Evans ('Captain America'), and Brian Tyree Henry ('Atlanta'). More…
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. In 'Lobby Hero' a young security guard with big ambitions clashes with his stern boss, an intense rookie cop, and her unpredictable partner.
"Part of the pleasure of this comedy is its characters' salty, funny, frequently insolent way with words...In Cullman's first-class revival, their entanglements become the stuff of acutely observed comedy and more than a little suspense...All four cast members are ideally suited to their roles...A much funnier play than it was in its original production...A play that, more and more, is looking like an American classic...The production is well worth a visit." Full Review
"Director Tripp Cullman's terrific mounting of Kenneth Lonergan's touching, funny and streetwise character study from 2001, featuring an excellent ensemble of four...Lonergan's dialogue is sharp and realistically funny, and the question of moral ambiguity when working against structured corruption is intriguingly well-played. 'Lobby Hero' is a play that will inspire a lot of post-theatre debate, but there's no question that this one's a solid dose of good theatre." Full Review
"'An important play for our time, and it is getting a superb production with the penetrating direction and the piercing acting by four splendid players. Each of the characters comes vividly alive and believable as they are brought together amid personal challenges...How each reacts and counter-reacts is at the core of the play...What makes the play so effective that the characters become so very life-like that by the end of the evening we feel we really know them." Full Review
"Drama with pointed humor...Lonergan has given each of the characters a particular dilemma to work through...Under Cullman's expert direction, it's fascinating to watch this excellent company tie it all together...Cera is perfect...Evans is wonderful...Powley's spunky performance cuts to the heart of this fine play...'Lobby Hero' is packed with issues that resonate in very big ways today - gender, race, police abuse and the entire criminal justice system." Full Review
"The production uses what is basically a series of interlocking conversations to present an ultimately riveting tale...The play makes clear that being unhappy with the way things are is not an excuse to conceal the truth...The entire cast is excellent...Cullman's direction is pitch-perfect here...The true power of 'Lobby Hero' is the penetrating, yet deceptive simplicity of its text. It illustrates the importance of telling the truth, and the painful repercussions doing so may bring." Full Review
"Thanks to Lonergan’s marvelous writing and Trip Cullman’s spot-on direction, those four types are anything but. They are fully, painfully human...Near-perfect revival...Evans makes a terrific Broadway debut...And then there’s Michael Cera, who was born to speak Lonergan’s language...When characters are this well drawn, this intensely human, and the performances are this well crafted, it’s worth every minute you spend in the company of these wonderful less-than-heroes." Full Review
"As humorous and unpretentious as 'Lobby Hero' is...it’s a delving piece of theater, about the stories we tell ourselves, and others...The complexities of urban life, issues of civic responsibility, the law, crime, romance, and morality ricochet throughout the play...Cullman deftly mines the humor and absurdity of these situations. Still, it’s the vulnerability of Lonergan’s characters that makes for a mesmerizing stage play...Especially thrilling, as it is such a simple and charming work." Full Review
"This taut, intense production, expertly directed by Cullman, is superbly cast...Henry creates an affecting portrayal of a black man struggling to remain true to himself in an impossible situation...Evans is a revelation as the corrupt cop...His concentrated, layered, physically expressive performance is full of surprising switches...As tightly wound as a thriller, it is also a funny play about very big ideas...Lonergan’s characters...offer a compelling road map to traversing the complexities... Full Review
"Lonergan's dialogue is fast, funny, and makes you think...Cullman does a fantastic job of keeping the ensemble of actors tightly woven together while making the themes of the play come alive...Each of them found the balance between comedy and gravitas. It is a testament to their work that, as an audience, you both want them to keep their secrets for their own sakes and expose them for the greater good...A well-executed, well-acted, and well-written production that is not to be missed." Full Review
"The combined wit and non-wisdom of these fallible (i.e. human) beings offers a fascinating reflection on those shaky internal compasses we call moral instincts. As to the ethical quandaries and quagmires in which these people are mired, they feel even more pointedly and sadly relevant than they did when 'Lobby Hero' was first performed...The performances here all so grounded that you never doubt their characters’ authenticity or sincerity." Full Review
"Lonergan's gift for honest character depiction, colorfully realistic dialogue, suspenseful situations, dramatic conflict, and carefully honed ethical dilemmas gives 'Lobby Hero' the feel of an old-fashioned, well-crafted drama, with few self-consciously artsy or intellectual devices. In no time at all, you find his expository talent tugging you deeply into his people and events…A first-rate ensemble brings each character to stageworthy life…Adds another bright light to the still glowing…seas... Full Review
"Under the sturdy direction of Trip Cullman, this is a strong inaugural production for Second Stage Theater at its new Broadway home...Even the ethically ironclad will find their moral clarity muddied by Lonergan's thoughtful human drama. 'Lobby Hero' is an unlikely candidate for a Broadway run, but this excellent revival makes a strong argument for its presence." Full Review
"Evans’s deft performance is one of the pluses of this fine-tuned show...Lonergan specializes in flawed sad sacks and self-sabotagers. He has an all-too-rare gift of perfect pitch when it comes to dialogue. The cast, guided by director Trip Cullman, make the most of the script and skillfully navigate the play’s plot and tonal twists...Cera never pushes for a laugh, they just roll out, like waves. His presence makes the play funnier, sadder and sweeter. He is the show’s MVP — if not its hero." Full Review
"In this bright, snappy revival, the boundaries between savior and antagonist are ingeniously blurred...Cullman commands a starry ensemble, but the focus stays on Lonergan's sly, winding dialogue...A fine balance between moral debate and observational comedy...Skirts the edge of farce without tumbling in...Bitterly funny...Lonergan writes with such compassion, you never forget that these are real people with genuine flaws and ideals." Full Review
"Kenneth Lonergan's 'Lobby Hero' has stood the test of time, seeming more pertinent today that when it was first seen 17 years ago. Trip Cullman's top-notch cast dig deep into their juicy roles bringing insight and perception. While the early part of the play will seem languid and insubstantial, it is only building towards a plot that ultimately packs quite a punch. The play's moral compass leaves it up to each viewer to decide who the 'lobby hero' is." Full Review
"Lonergan has a wonderful ear for dialogue and the fine cast serves him well. The first act provides a good introduction to the characters and their conflicting goals. The second act is a bit of a letdown as the actions become a bit formulaic. The three supporting actors are excellent...I wish that Cera brought more freshness to the role and that the second act were more satisfying. Nevertheless, there is much to enjoy." Full Review
"Hilarious comedy-cum-morality-play...A scrupulously well-acted production...It's the bigger issues mixed throughout Lonergan's deft script that we're really meant to think about...Issues as racism, sexism and the flaws in our legal system...Never feels like Lonergan is hitting us on our heads with a metaphorical sledgehammer...A top-notch troupe of actors...A tad overstretched...It's worth the effort to stretch our attention for a play that both makes us think and guffaw." Full Review
"'Lobby Hero' is a textured consideration of more or less honest characters dealing with sticky moral questions, its dramatic pulse and its needling humor underscored by a rich vein of melancholy...A very fine production — with strong casting, sensitive direction from Trip Cullman and dynamic physical design by David Rockwell...What makes 'Lobby Hero' so engrossing is that nobody is entirely right or wrong and the moral questions at stake are never simply black or white." Full Review
"High-voltage revival...Lurches up like a shockingly current morality tale - despite being set at the turn of the previous century...Presents a kind of microcosm of law, order, and personal responsibility - under the guise of what seems, on its face, like a workplace sex comedy...Cullman's production, compactly staged...leans into the play's near-sitcom setup, without sacrificing the complexity of its questions about human nature...Henry is a clear standout." Full Review
"Directed by Trip Cullman with a fine balance of humor and tension...Lonergan’s ear for the down-to-earth speech patterns and sarcastic wit of working-class New Yorkers, nimbly delivered by the cast, is both believable and empathetic, even as he examines their flaws and questions their judgments...'Lobby Hero' is a smart and funny examination of morality and motivation." Full Review
"Smartly constructed by Lonergan with finely-detailed characters whose talk and conflicts provoke plenty of laughter and suspense...Lonergan develops this story thorough extremely natural-sounding, often humorous, conversations that reveal the characters and their desires...All of the actors invest their characters with gritty naturalness and authentic accents under Trip Cullman’s finely-tuned direction that presents the drama literally from every angle." Full Review
"Heady topics, but Lonergan's gift of injecting humor in almost every line makes this a thought-provoking as well as a delightful evening in the theater...As humorous as the lines are at any given moment, it underlines the shortcomings of each character...The show's trump card is the four brilliant performances...Cullman has staged the proceedings in a well-balanced manner, unobtrusively splitting the serious and the humor in equal doses and moves his players with effortless ease." Full Review
"No gimmick event, its no-weak-link casting anything but a stunt – strong enough, in fact, to merit serious Tony consideration. A fine and funny drama when it debuted Off Broadway in 2001, the play hasn’t so much aged as grown into itself and the world around it...'Lobby Hero' is mostly talk, and there are passages when plotting demands far too much from conversation, even conversation as clever as the stuff Lonergan concocts...Evans is the revelation here." Full Review
"Wrapped in hard-boiled dialogue and more laughs than you'd expect, Lonergan's exploration of sexual and racial discrimination, the legal system, and pondering ideals versus rules are as relevant today...Lonergan writes dialogue as realistic with stress and pitch as if it were overheard on the street. The cast is perfect with Lonergan-talk...There is humor and compassion in these intensely human dilemmas and Cullman directs the four characters like chess pieces." Full Review
"Four intriguing characters make up the square edges in Lonergan's 'Lobby Hero'...Cullman keeps the action of these four pulsing forward...No moments of boredom or lethargy...Lust, power, and attraction are played out impulsively and organically by the brilliant dialogue...as all four bounce off each other in ways that is both surprising and thrilling...Strangely dynamic, hilarious, and crisply fascinating with a strong moral conflict at its center." Full Review
See it if you like small-cast, character-driven comedy-dramas...and you've always wanted to see Chris Evans--aka Captain America--onstage.
Don't see it if talky plays in which little happens usually send you scurrying for the exits.
See it if An absolutely brilliantly written and acted piece of theatre which could not be more relevant had it been written yesterday !
Don't see it if You can’t deal with racial issues and class issues being portrayed in the most realistic way. Although my opinion is that it is for everyone
See it if You want to see great acting from everyone involved and a great script. It was clever and funny but also made you uncomfortable.
Don't see it if You're not a fan of plays that hinge on dialogue.
See it if you want to see a perfectly cast and perfectly written play. Even more relevant today than when first produced. Cera is outstanding!
Don't see it if you don't like plays that are too wordy.
See it if you enjoy low-key yet engaging plays about contemporary characters and stories with an ensemble cast of excellent actors.
Don't see it if you prefer high-action or high-drama plays, or more demonstrative comedies or prefer period pieces.
See it if You enjoy well written dramas with periodic touches of humor. Thought provoking and gives pause to the human condition. Superbly acted.
Don't see it if You enjoy musicals more than dramas
See it if you like straight plays with fully developed characters, interesting plots, terrific acting, good directing.Holds your interest.
Don't see it if you want something light and fluffy.While it has movie stars, they are there to act, not to have you swoon.Terrific story. Worth seeing.
See it if Conversations that truly feel like...conversations, no complicated metaphors needed. Effortlessly natural and immensely captivating
Don't see it if Moral grounds for these four members of the law enformcent are seriously tested.
See it if A well constructed play with characters speaking great natural language. The actors are all marvelous. Story lines are topical and realistic
Don't see it if you need a happy ending.
See it if You love yourself some good Lonergan theatre. Big names like Scott Pilgrim and Steve Rogers steal the show. Serious but hilarious.
Don't see it if You want to see Captain America fight Thanos. He talks more than show his muscles. People 16 and up i’d recommend.
See it if you are a fan of thought-provoking, sharply funny, yet deeply serious plays, with characters who demonstrate shifting and flawed moral fiber
Don't see it if you prefer more escapistic fare, with humor that is not topical or controversial in nature. Or you need a concrete resolution by the end.
See it if You like Kenneth Longergan's work, Chris Evans, or Michael Cena. You enjoy talkative drama that lets you form your own opinion.
Don't see it if You don't like talkative drama, plays that discuss morality, or Chris Evans with a mustache.
See it if You love a play with a moral dilemma. Extremely well-acted and humorous as well as serious.
Don't see it if You are looking for an epic story or romance--this is a small chestnut.
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