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Lobby Hero, by Academy Award Winner Kenneth Lonergan, Begins Brockport Run

Comic drama takes an inside look at a New York City apartment building during the overnight shift

Jeff, played by Chris Speelman, is happy that Dawn, played by Emily Persevich, is the new cop on the beat in Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero, opening on Friday, February 23, 2018.

They guard us when it’s dark out: Firemen. Cops. But also, if you live in Manhattan, a night doorman. And while it is usually pretty quiet on those graveyard shifts, leaving the doorman to crack wise with any passerby, or try to make time with a rookie cop new to the beat, sometimes it can get quite intense while the city sleeps. This is the premise of Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero, the third production in the 50th anniversary season of The College at Brockport’s Department of Theatre and Music Studies. The play opens on Friday, February 23, 2018, at 7:30 pm. Performances take place in the Tower Fine Arts Center Black Box Theatre. Tickets are $17/General, $12/Seniors, Alumni, Faculty and Staff, and $9/Students.

Lonergan, who won an Academy Award last year for the screenplay of Manchester by the Sea, has used Manhattan as a setting in other works, and catches the rhythms of the city in his dialogue. According to Frank Kuhn, professor and director of the production, “We are lucky because some of our cast members are from the city.” The cast made an “effort to find the right sound for each of the four characters.”

The night-to-night sameness that Jeff, the doorman, experiences gets an upheaval when the police officers who routinely stop by become more deeply involved in a murder investigation. The quartet of characters are, according to Kuhn, “totally believable… struggling to do what’s right when it’s not clear exactly what that is.” But this is when Lonergan’s dialogue becomes “brilliant; [when] the play’s compassion rises to the top, as does the relationship between authority – parental, corporate, governmental – morality, and kindness.”

With just those four characters, Lobby Hero is a play that demands intimacy. Even the upcoming Broadway revival will be playing the Helen Hayes Theatre, the theatre district’s smallest. As Kuhn points out, “In many ways, it is a ‘small’ story, but the play observes these characters as if under a microscope, revealing their complexity, their absurdity, their flaws, and their nobility.” Due to the nature of the beast, it will be performed in the Black Box Theatre in the Tower Fine Arts Center, which Kuhn feels is “ideal for that sort of intimate observation.”

The first weekend of performances of Lobby Hero will take place on Friday and Saturday, February 23 and 24, at 7:30 pm. There is also a 2 pm matinee on Sunday, February 25, which will be ASL interpreted for the hearing impaired. The second weekend of performances will take place on Thursday through Saturday, March 1 through 3, at 7:30 pm, with additional matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday, March 3 and 4, at 2 pm. Seating in the Black Box Theatre is by general admission.

contact: Tower Fine Arts Center Box Office: (585) 395-2787
submitted: Tue, Feb 6, 2018 by ssoloway
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