‘Lobby Hero’: Theater Review Review REVIEWS

Opening Night:
Open Ended

Theater: Helen Hayes Theatre / 240 West 44th Street, New York, NY, 10036


Let's get the obvious question out of the way up front: Does Chris Evans cut it in his leap from the superhero universe to the naturalistic comedy-drama of Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero? Absolutely. Evans fully inhabits his character of a vain but well-liked New York City career cop on track to make detective, who is quite comfortable rationalizing to himself abuses of power large and small in a profession where gender inequality and toxic masculinity come with the badge. The actor best known as Captain America brings plenty of cocky swagger, his thumbs hooked into his utility belt like an Old West cowboy with a bushy mustache to match, but his assured performance never aims to be a star turn. Rather, it's an integral part of an evenly balanced, four-person ensemble piece.

Nor is Lonergan's play, first produced in 2001, strictly a hot-button work ahead of the curve in exploring imbalances of power that have become such a pressing part of the national conversation in the era of #MeToo, Time's Up and Black Lives Matter. As we've come to expect from this thoughtful, compassionate writer — an Oscar winner last year for his screenplay for the symphonic domestic drama Manchester by the Sea — Lobby Hero is a textured consideration of more or less honest characters dealing with sticky moral questions, its dramatic pulse and its needling humor underscored by a rich vein of melancholy.



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