Heavy topics like police brutality and our response to our civic duties are very fresh in our minds in 2018. But they were also important conversations happening throughout the streets of Manhattan in 1999, where we pick up the new 2econd Stage Theater production of Lobby Hero. Starring Michael Cera, Chris Evans, Brian Tyree Henry, and Bel Powley, this exciting new Broadway drama explores what happens when our own values, morals, and principles become threatened by our career goals, familial loyalties, and internal emotional turmoil.
The story centers around the observations of Jeff (Michael Cera) who is an overnight security guard in the lobby of a New York City apartment building. He’s isolated on the graveyard shift, rarely getting a visitor beyond his boss William (Brian Tyree Henry). He’s a decent young guy, but he’s down on his luck, has run out ambition. Jeff dreams of making a difference beyond the midnight lobby, yet he’s not doing anything to make it happen. That is, until a newly paired-up police officer duo Bill (Chris Evans) and Dawn (Bel Powley) start hanging around the premises.
Jeff learns that William’s brother has gotten mixed up in a horrific criminal act, leaving his family torn about what to do to either prove his innocence or let justice run its course. He develops a crush on Dawn, a rookie on the NYPD force who tried to prove her strength in the good old boys’ club early on in her career, but quickly got tangled in an awful police brutality case. And Jeff watches Bill, a seemingly all-star cop who thinks he’s got it all, try to trample anyone who stands in his way.
Jeff may mean well, but he swiftly barges into the other characters’ personal lives. Suddenly, their problems become his own, and he lets his imagination run wild in trying to solve each issue. Naively, he thinks his big contribution to society will be righting the wrongs he sees in front of him, transforming himself from a loser on the sidelines to a hero making a measurable difference. Maybe innocently, Jeff rambles to the wrong people. He says too much and filters too little, complicating all of his relationships along the way.
Lobby Hero shows us what can happen when your professional ambitions meet your personal problems. It’s smart and poignant, yet somehow it’s all at once laugh-out-loud funny. You’ll thoroughly enjoy this work, and be left thinking about the big dilemmas of the drama far beyond the curtain call.
If you go, Lobby Hero is playing now through May 13, 2018 at the Hayes Theater, 240 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036. You can pick up tickets at the box office or via Telecharge. This performance kicks off as 2ST’s debut at their permanent Broadway residence.