Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Lobby Hero

There is something to be said for telling the truth. It is just the right thing to do. However, what if a lie is the one thing that can save a loved one? Do you tell that lie or act on your conscience? That is the question up for debate in Kenneth Lonergan's play, Lobby Hero.

Now playing at The Studio Theatre, Lobby Hero is a serio-comic piece that explores common human foibles. The centerpiece of the play is Jeff, a wisecracking security guard who mans the front desk in the lobby of a New York City apartment building. Jeff has had his share of troubles. Not only was he thrown out of the Navy, but also he is forced to live in his brother's home due to poor finances. But thanks to his job and the guidance of his supervisor, Jeff is on his way to making a better life for himself. William, Jeff's supervisor, is a straight arrow. He believes in hard work, honesty, and discipline. However, William's values are tested when he must decide if he will lie to the police in order to keep his brother out of jail. Thrown in the mix are a couple of city cops who have some secrets of their own. Jeff is pulled into the deception and ultimately must determine his own set of values.

For the most part, Mr. Lonergan's writing is entertaining. He definitely has a knack for dialogue and his comic moments are extremely enjoyable. He is also adept at capturing the lives of "ordinary" people. Unfortunately, overall, the script appears to be uneven and a bit self-indulgent. This show raises a big question and that question is conveyed before the end of the first act. That question is revisited continuously throughout the remainder of the play. There are moments where this is highly effective but there are many more times where it just seems to slow the progression of the piece.

Jason Schuchman and Clark Jackson
Despite its flaws, Lobby Hero does have some terrific moments, as well as some very good production values and a talented cast. Jason Schuchman as Jeff is excellent as the immature security guard. In the course of two and a half hours, he manages to evoke amusement, annoyance, and sympathy. Clark Jackson is very commanding as the no-nonsense William. However, he also manages to capture the more vulnerable side of this character and he does so beautifully. Daniel Cantor and Tina Frantz play well off each other as the two New York police officers. Daniel Cantor is especially good as Bill, the over-confident veteran cop.

Daniel Conway has designed a very realistic set. From the bank of mailboxes in the rear to light wood paneling on the wall, this set is every inch the typical apartment lobby. Neil McFadden's sound is to be applauded as well. The occasional siren or police radio sound give the play an air of authenticity. Finally, Reggie Ray's costumes are very well done and appropriate to the piece.

Lobby Hero is the type of play that inspires conversation. Although it brings up some interesting issues, the piece falls short of being completely effective. Lobby Hero runs through June 23rd.

The Studio Theatre
Lobby Hero
May 15th - June 23rd
By Kenneth Lonergan
Directed by J.R. Sullivan
1333 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Ticket Information: (202) 332-3300 or

Cast List

Jeff: Jason Schuchman
William: Clark Jackson
Bill: Daniel Cantor
Dawn: Tina Frantz

-- Tracy Lyon

Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.

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