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Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s ‘Lobby Hero’

Provocative, tightly woven drama about a security guard caught up in murder

Nov. 29, 2016
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Police work has been a major preoccupation for drama of every kind. The job of a security guard, though similar to that of a police officer, isn’t often the focus of serious drama. With the stage play Lobby Hero, Kenneth Lonergan casts dramatic light on a security guard. It’s a comedic ensemble drama focused largely on the pivotal character of Jeff, an officer who works the front desk of an apartment lobby in Manhattan.

In Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s staging, Chris Klopatek maintains a casually organic intensity as Jeff. He’s caught up in the bewildering moral, professional and interpersonal complexity of reporting what he knows about a murder investigation. Di’Monte Henning commands considerable gravitas in the role of Jeff’s boss, William, a man preoccupied by a family drama that threatens to compromise his altruistic respect for honesty and integrity. Andrew Edwin Voss delivers a dark edge to the mix as a police officer looking for promotion who runs into some drama with Dawn, a probationary police officer played by a charmingly poised Sara Zientek.

The drama plays out in third-shift restlessness. Security guards and police officers engage in small talk and late night negotiations in the city that never sleeps. New York itself feels quiet and empty in a production that lacks much of the filth, ambient noise and density of human proximity for which Manhattan is infamous. Avoiding the peripheral clutter, director C. Michael Wright allows the power of the drama between four people to weave a crazy web across the stage in a provocative, tightly woven drama about dizzying human convolution of honesty and duty.

Through Dec. 18 at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre, 158 N. Broadway. For tickets, visit milwaukeechambertheatre.com.

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