Lobby Hero has never been produced on Broadway until 2018. It premiered off-Broadway in early 2001 and was later produced in the UK. But now, as Second Stage works to show works by American playwrights it their new Broadway House, Lobby Hero has become the first production to grace the stage in the newly renovated Helen Hayes Theater.
The four person cast of Chris Evans (Bill), Michael Cera (Jeff), Brian Tyree Henry (William), and Bel Powley (Dawn) gives an intimate feeling to the show and fits very well in the small theater. Within the first few minutes of the show any feeling of being an outsider looking in vanishes, and you are fully immersed in the production. It is easy to find common ground with these characters, and they feel like real people.
Chris Evans is typically a hero. I know him as Captain America in the Marvel movies, as do millions of other people. However his acting ability is not confined just to hero work. In Lobby Hero, he plays the villain incredibly well. This shows that he is an incredibly versatile actor and can do more than just be a hero.
Brian Tyree Henry plays his part very, very well. He brings a level of depth to the part that you can only understand by watching him at work in the show. By far, his character goes on the most difficult journey throughout the play and it is incredibly to see how he takes his character on that journey.
Bel Powley, aside from being the only girl on stage, is a remarkable actress. She holds her own next to her fellow cast members, all of whom have a very large presence on stage. She too takes her character on an intriguing arc throughout the play that leaves the audience curious as to what's next for her by the end.
Michael Cera was probably born to play his role. He fits the character so perfectly that you forget you are watching people who are acting. He embodies the character so incredibly well and in a way that not many people could.
The moving set that allows you to see the action from different angles and simplistic designs allow the audience to become quickly immersed with the story by not being distracted by anything else on stage. Additionally, the show works well in the Hayes Theater (which is quite beautiful after its renovation) and it feels like it wouldn't be as effective if it was in a larger theater.
The show has an unexpected ending. Cera's character starts off knowing what his plan for the future is but ends up not knowing at all. It leaves the audience with a lot to think about as each character heads into uncertain futures where they are not necessarily happy.