Lobby Hero

Play

Writers: Kenneth Lonergan

Overview

Show Information

Category
Play
Number of Acts
2
First Produced
2001
Genres
Drama, Dark Comedy
Settings
Contemporary, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
The lobby of an upscale Manhattan apartment building, New York City, the present
Cast Size
small
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, Diverse Cast, Ensemble Cast, Mature Audiences, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre, Small Cast
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes adult characters

Synopsis

Jeff, a down-on-his-luck twenty-something who found himself in a bad deal with a loan shark and can’t move out of his brother’s house, works security at a high-scale apartment building in Manhattan. The boss of the lobby, William, is a black man close in age to Jeff, and William works hard to establish himself as the respected leader in their working environment. William finds Jeff’s aggravating inability to move forward with his life frequently gets in the way of his work, and against his better judgment he offers leeway to the misdirected young man. Bill, an older cop, frequently makes visits to the apartment building to visit his mistress, and recently he’s picked up a new partner, a young woman named Dawn. Jeff is attracted to Dawn, and doesn’t hesitate to make his interest known even while Dawn engages in a brief affair with Bill, the partner she idolizes as the perfect cop. All comes to a breaking point when William’s brother is accused of a very serious murder and asks William to provide him with a false alibi. With Jeff emotionally invested in Dawn’s well-being and Bill poking his nose in on William’s brother’s case, good intentions lead to bad results and all are forced to confront their own moral inconsistencies and faults. Lobby Hero interrogates the racial bias inherent in America’s justice system and sexism in law enforcement fields with complexity and nuance. Cops and security guards, those tasked with the protection of the everyday citizen, are presented as deeply flawed examples of humanity, as opposed to paragons of moral virtue. We witness the rightful downfall of a cop who pushes his authority too far after years of being celebrated by a department willing to turn a blind eye to his hints of corruption, We also see the struggles a woman confronts in establishing herself in the same sexist workplace. A black man who lives by the law and has always believed in the truth above all else is tasked with navigating the dilemma of whether or not to lie for his possibly criminal brother, when the existing system of justice may not actually guarantee a fair trial that adequately holds him as innocent until proven guilty. Amidst it all, a directionless, jokingly defensive young man is learning what it means to be a real adult. The worth of experience is weighed heavily against the worth of ideals, and both ways of living in the world are given their stage without bias. Lobby Hero digs into the grey areas brought forth in the current climate of policing, sexism, and race relations, and leaves no perspective unexamined. Sensitive and small while tackling massive issues, this play offers heart and depth to what are often polarizing conversations.

Lead Characters