Playwrights Horizons begins previews for the world premiere of Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero Feb. 16, marking the New York season's only new work by a playwright currently nominated for an Academy Award.
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.
Under the direction of Mark Brokaw, the cast of Lobby Hero, Feb. 16-March 25, includes Tate Donovan, Heather Burns, Glenn Fitzgerald and Dion Graham. Official opening is March 13 at Horizons' Anne Wilder Theatre on 42nd Street.
Donovan appeared in Broadway's Amy's View and the Roundabout Theatre staging of Picnic. The play is set in the lobby of an urban apartment complex, in the aftermath of a brutal murder. There, four disparate people — two young cops (Donovan and Burns), a restless security guard (Fitzgerald) and his tightly-wound supervisor (Graham) — confront the truth about themselves, their relationships and their city.
According to the most recent announcement, the plot is thus: "When Jeff, a luckless young security guard, is drawn into a local murder investigation, loyalties are strained to the breaking point. As Jeff's tightly-wound supervisor is called to bear witness against his troubled brother, and an attractive rookie cop finds she must stand up to her seasoned partner, truth becomes elusive and justice proves costly."
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.
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.
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