Lobby Hero

The daily papers are filled with stories of corruption and crime—our elected officials lie to us, business executives steal us blind, and street crime is rampant. We bemoan these conditions, but what would we ourselves do when confronted with a moral dilemma? In the Denver Center Theatre Company's current production of Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero, an everyday fellow has just such a moment.

Jeff has had a rough time of it the last couple of years since he got kicked out of the Navy. His new job as a night-shift security guard in a middle-income high-rise in Manhattan isn't particularly demanding, and that's alright by him. Sometimes, when things get slow, he can pretend to be reading the paper while catching forty winks instead.

Photo of Rick Stear as Jeff and Terrence Riggins as William
(L to R) Rick Stear as Jeff
and Terrence Riggins
as William
Photo credit: Terry Shapiro
The toughest part of Jeff's job is his supervisor, William, who sees the security agency as his ticket to success. William runs a tight ship. He scolds Jeff for leaving the desk disorganized, and rants about the importance of motivation and making something of one's self.

Rick Stear's multifaceted portrayal of Jeff hits on all cylinders. He's quirky and loose, and ready with a joke, but we see that he's been through enough to be sincere when it counts. Terrence Riggins is a powerhouse as the no-nonsense William, equally at home barking orders like a staff sergeant as he is pontificating his philosophy of life.

As the nights wear on, Jeff and William get to know each other. William starts to show some compassion for Jeff's situation, and Jeff listens to some of William's advice. They begin to share personal information. Then the cops show up.

Photo of Rick Stear as Jeff and Bill Christ as Bill
(L to R) Rick Stear as Jeff
and Bill Christ as Bill
Photo credit: Terry Shapiro
Bill is the senior officer on the beat. He's physically intimidating, but can turn on the charm for the ladies, whether it be his rookie partner, Dawn, or his friend upstairs in apartment 12-J. Bill Christ, as Bill, is a large presence, both physically and psychologically. His Bill exudes sincerity one moment, then turns on a dime and frightens us the next. As Dawn, January Murelli puts up the hard exterior of a woman trying hard to impress others that she is tough enough to be a cop, yet lets us see her vulnerability without any loss of credulity.
Photo of January Murelli as Dawn and Rick Stear (background) as Jeff
(L to R) January Murelli as Dawn
and Rick Stear (background) as Jeff
Photo credit: Terry Shapiro

Soon the internal conflicts within each character run headlong into unfolding events: William's morality is called into question, Bill is unmasked, Jeff is at his crossroads, and Dawn is trying to hold on to her dreams.

Lonergan doesn't try to hit us over the head with judgments. He shows us that love and family can turn black and white into gray, and that to do the right thing requires more strength of character than many of us have ever exercised.

Photo of Rick Stear as Jeff and January Murelli as Dawn
(L to R) Rick Stear as Jeff
and January Murelli as Dawn
Photo credit: Terry Shapiro
Director David McClendon works this perfectly cast ensemble like a time bomb—as the clock runs down, our life flashes before us. What would we do in their shoes? The Denver Center Theatre Company's compelling production of Lobby Hero runs through December 27th. 303-893-4100.

Bob Bows


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