BWW Review: MCT's LOBBY HERO Pursues Relevant Ethical Questions through Bright Comedy
A late night, New York lobby, courtesy of Scenic Designer Stephen Hudson-Mairet, features one security guard and his captain supervisor who delve into current moral dilemmas during Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's (MCT) Lobby Hero. Director C. Michael Wright challenges his audience through witty humor and gender controversy from Kenneth Lonergan's play underscoring a women cop working in a man's world--and a male cop working the system and also trying to achieve heroic glory.
Wright assembled a worthy cast for this humorous, if complex, production artfully combining drama and humor. Chris Klopatek's rhythm for comic timing fits perfectly into his character Jeff's gift of gab-or making jokes--that stretches into comic relief from a night security officer that often annoys William, an elegant Di'Monte Henning. William struggles to debate the honesty to his dilemmas while his brother awaits trial in the city jail for a crime Will might be uncertain he actually committed-a heinous murder. However, the court system his brother may be subjected to during the arraignment and prosecution could be equally heinous.
Up and coming actor Sara Zientek and Andrew Edwin Voss presents the cop duo Dawn and Bill who enter into William and Jeff's lives at the lobby. The actor's physical statures, Zientek petite and dark, contrasts the strapping, tall Voss to underscore the resonating themes in the play. Lobby Hero infers how do women compete working as cops in the man dominated profession, when their small physical presence might make make them a target for criminals and difficult to gain the respect of the police force? This could include being part of the precinct force, playing along with the physical and social ramifications of being a cop on probation, catering to the 'cop boys" unspoken rules and world.
While the story unfolds, each character reveals their flaws and personal ethical dilemmas facing them--captivating to watch on stage. What is the "right' action to pursue in each instance? Klopatek's Jeff inevitably falls for who he calls the "little cop, " Zientek's Dawn, when he talks to her in his lobby while the veteran cop Bill visits a high class woman who provides him with some "romance." outside his marriage and while on duty. Does the woman cop, Dawn, reveal the secret of her revered partner in the police force to a supervisor? To someone else? Especially when Bill is asking something ":more" of Dawn to assure his compliance on an investigation Dawn faces in a confrontation with a citizen?
An uncommon seasonal theater selection for Milwaukee, a refreshing change while immensely thought provoking, MCT and Wright once again challenge audiences to reflect on recent current events and the morality of what to keep private, what to reveal to others, either in confidence or for advice, and when to tell the truth. When to be a truthful hero, if that can be named a hero in this culture? How does anyone decide what the truth is in today's world with unprecedented and unlimited access to social media? What does anyone say to another person in public or private? In the audiences' business or personal lives, these ethical questions reign as supremely important. Perhaps, adding the play's comic relief and romantic undertones, Lobby Hero might be the perfect combination of questions to contemplate at holiday gatherings with family and friends.....?
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre presents Lobby Hero in the Studio Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center in the Historic Third Ward through December 18. For further information, or tickets to a performance, please call 414.291.7800 or www.milwaukeechambertheatre.com.