Lobby Hero Ends April 15 at Playwrights Horizons; Is There a Future?

News   Lobby Hero Ends April 15 at Playwrights Horizons; Is There a Future? Lobby Hero, Kenneth Lonergan's new play about moral questions, shifting loyalties and urban characters on the brink of new futures, ends its sold-out, extended run at Playwrights Horizons in New York City April 15, and producers are exploring a possible commercial move.

Lobby Hero, Kenneth Lonergan's new play about moral questions, shifting loyalties and urban characters on the brink of new futures, ends its sold-out, extended run at Playwrights Horizons in New York City April 15, and producers are exploring a possible commercial move.

A cancellation line will form this weekend at the box office. The sold-out production was announced to run to March 25, then was extended to April 8, and once more to April 15. Solid reviews and strong audience support are creating an atmosphere right for a possible commercial future for the work by the playwright of This Is Our Youth and The Waverly Gallery. (The New York Times has mentioned the John Houseman Theatre as a possible venue.)

Lonergan was nominated for a 2001 Academy Award for Best Screenplay for "You Can Count On Me," which he also directed. Lobby Hero marks the New York season's only new work by a playwright nominated in the same season for an Oscar. Lonergan reportedly rewrote the play during previews.

Lobby Hero is presented by special arrangement with Mosaic Entertainment and Betsy Bernstein, who would shepherd the work to a commercial run.

* A pair of New York City cops and a couple of apartment building security guards have heated words in Lobby Hero, which opened Off Broadway March 13. Instead of bullets, moral questions ricochet throughout the world premiere production. Previews began Feb. 16. The show can't extend any further because Keith Bunin's The Credeaux Canvasis scheduled to arrive in mid-spring.

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. Mark Brokaw directs.

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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