Laurels and Morals: Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero Opens March 13 in NYC

News   Laurels and Morals: Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero Opens March 13 in NYC A pair of New York City cops and a couple of apartment building security guards have heated words in Kenneth Lonergan's new play, Lobby Hero, but instead of bullets, moral questions ricochet throughout the world premiere production, opening March 13 at Playwrights Horizons in Manhattan.
Tate Donovan and Heather Burns in Lobby Hero.
Tate Donovan and Heather Burns in Lobby Hero. (Photo by Photo by Joan Marcus)

A pair of New York City cops and a couple of apartment building security guards have heated words in Kenneth Lonergan's new play, Lobby Hero, but instead of bullets, moral questions ricochet throughout the world premiere production, opening March 13 at Playwrights Horizons in Manhattan.

Playwrights Horizons began previews for Lonergan's Lobby Hero Feb. 16, marking the New York season's only new work by a playwright currently nominated for an Academy Award. The run is sold out. Lonergan has reportedly been working on rewrites throughout the preview process.

Lonergan, who penned such humane, intimate plays as This Is Our Youth and The Waverly Gallery, has been nominated for a 2001 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, for "You Can Count On Me," which he also directed. He was also a Golden Globe nominee for the picture. Like the three earlier works, Lonergan's Lobby Hero has in the mix of characters a charming "screwup" who can't seem to get his life on track.

Jeff (Glenn Fitzgerald) is a 27-year-old security guard who is a flop with women, was a Navy dropout and is living with his brother. An exchange with his boss (Dion Graham) about an off-site murder threatens his future, but offers him a chance to interact with an attractive female rookie cop (Heather Burns), who visits the lobby with her veteran partner (Tate Donovan), who has been putting the moves on her. Loyalties are tested and lies are told, and personal and professional power struggles ensue in the four-character work.

Lobby Hero is presented by special arrangement with Mosaic Entertainment and Betsy Bernstein. *

Under the direction of Mark Brokaw, Lobby Hero continues to March 25 at Playwrights Horizons' Anne Wilder Theatre on 42nd Street.

Donovan appeared in Broadway's Amy's View and the Roundabout Theatre staging of Picnic; Burns appeared in The Atlantic Theater Company's All Things Considered, Suburbia, Twelfth Night and The Crucible; Fitzgerald was seen in Playwrights Horizons' Ice in a Hot World and Mizlansky/Zilinsky at Manhattan Theatre Club; Graham was in Broadway's Not About Nightingales, and New York's Elliot Loves, A View of the Dome and A Raisin in the Sun at Williamstown Theatre Festival.

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Lonergan's rueful, matter-of fact The Waverly Gallery had a brief Off-Broadway run in 2000, starring Eileen Heckart as an Alzheimer's-stricken grandmother. His antsy, urban This is Our Youth focused on slacker rich kids looking for their next high, their next buck and contact. Lonergan has been lauded for his spare, unsentimental storytelling. "You Can't Count On Me" shows a brother and sister struggling uneasily in adulthood years after the loss of their parents.

Designers are Allen Moyer (set), Michael Krass (costume), Mark McCullough (lighting) and Janet Kalas (sound).

Tickets are $45. Playwrights Horizons is at 416 W. 42nd Street in Manhattan. For information about Playwrights Horizons, check out the web site at www.playwrightshorizons.org or call (212) 279-4200.

— By Kenneth Jones