Chris Klopatek as Jeff and Sara Zientek as Dawn in
the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s “Lobby Hero.
- Kenneth Lonergan, though not a particularly prolific
playwright and film script writer, is one of pristine
quality. His film “You Can Count on Me” was a rave,
and his upcoming film “Manchester by the Sea” is
already receiving excellent reviews.
present work, “Lobby Hero,” is a sterling drama, one
with humor, depth, complex characters and a hint of
the lead character, is a night-shift security guard in a
run-of-the-mill apartment building in the Bronx. Chris
Klopatek, an alumnus of Catholic Memorial High School in
Waukesha, is continuing to grow and flourish as an
actor. This role is a perfect fit for his talent.
The other three characters are Jeff’s compulsive
supervisor, William (Di’Monte Henning), who stops by
every night to check on his employee; and two cops, Bill
(Andrew Edwin Voss) and Dawn (Sara Zientek). Bill is
hoping to attain his star status and move up to
detective rank. He is self-serving, self-impressed and
manipulative, but can also be charming and helpful if
it’s to his advantage. However, he is also a
womanizer, a liar and a man of puny conscience.
present partner, Dawn, is a fledgling cop, trying to
make it in a macho world but making some major mistakes
in the process. All the characters are flawed, which
makes them real, and all are struggling with some
begins to be attracted to Dawn, but she is too confused
about her job and her obsession with Bill, whom she
worships. She also thinks she is superior to Jeff, whom
she labels as a “doorman,” which he finds insulting.
He already thinks he’s a hapless nobody and doesn’t
need anyone reminding him.
who is black, is meticulous about his job and proud of
his rank as captain in a security company. He has just
learned that his brother, who has led an entirely
different life, has just been arrested for being an
accomplice to theft, rape and murder, a story that Jeff
inches out of him in the midst of one of their nightly
conversations. William has been asked to provide an
alibi for his brother.
time goes on, we begin to see all four characters with
greater clarity. We
struggle with William’s moral dilemma over truth or
loyalty to his brother; we empathize with Dawn’s
precarious position in her male-dominated world; we
cheer for Jeff’s progress toward achieving his minimal
dreams of finding a better job, an apartment of his own,
and a possible love relationship; and we are repelled by
Bill’s exploitative maneuvers.
seems to be looking for a hero, and Lonergan certainly
raises the issue of whether or not anyone deserves that
title. Is anyone really deserving of our unmitigated
admiration, or are we all just flawed human beings,
making choices on our own notions of right and wrong,
good and evil?
play certainly points up the complexity of ethical
it makes us less judgmental and more forgiving.
is one of the best scripts I’ve ever encountered, and
with a flawless cast and the gifted director, C. Michael
Wright, at the helm, you are sure to enjoy your
encounter with a “Lobby Hero” and the three people
who drift into his realm every night.
The play runs through Dec. 18 in the Studio Theater at
the Broadway Theater Center, 158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee.
Call 414-291-7800 or visit
milwaukeechambertheatre.com for times and tickets.