Florida Rep. closes the season with Kenneth Lonergan’s dark comedy “Lobby Hero”

Florida Rep. closes the season with Kenneth Lonergan’s dark comedy “Lobby Hero”

Florida Repertory Theatre in downtown Fort Myers closes its 25th anniversary season with a production of Oscar and Tony-winning screenwriter, director and playwright Kenneth Lonergan’s dark comedy “Lobby Hero.”

The plot of “Lobby Hero” concerns two police officers and two security guards on the graveyard shift in the lobby of a Manhattan apartment building. Lonergan’s nuanced and flawed characters are all dealing with personal moral dilemmas as they find themselves embroiled in a murder investigation.

“It was brilliantly written and so keenly observed that I just thought, “I’ve got to do this,” said director Ron Lagomarsino.

“Lobby Hero” premiered off-Broadway at Playwright Horizons in New York 2001, but given the emergence of the #MeToo movement and Black Lives Matter in the subsequent decades, Lagomarsino notes the themes the play engages could make it even more relevant today.

“It touches on all those topics and unfortunately as we go forward and there are improvements in many different areas of society, human nature remains the same and so the conundrums our characters find themselves in are thorny and feel very much of the moment,” said Lagomarsino.

As the title suggests, the action in the play takes place entirely within the lobby of an apartment building.

“Figuring out the grand plan was a fun thing to do because this theater is in the three-quarter staging so the audience is on three sides,” said Lagomarsino.

“So, trying to figure out where the lobby hero’s desk is and I wanted to make it as a barrier between any guest and the elevator which becomes a plot point in the play.”

Lagomarsino’s theater directing credits are extensive, most recently including a production of Joseph Doughtery’s “Chester Bailey” at Irish Repertory Theater. He previously staged the show’s world premiere at American Conservatory Theater. Other notable projects include directing the world premiere of Alfred Uhry’s “Driving Miss Daisy,” which earned him an Outer Critics Circle Award.

Although he says theater is his first love, Lagomarsino has also directed for TV and film, including episodes of “Thirtysomething,” “Picket Fences,” “My So-Called Life,” “Ally McBeal,” “Homefront,” and “Pretty Little Liars,” among others.

His relationship with the Florida Rep began with a staged reading, via Zoom of his original play “Jerome,” in 2020, but this marks directorial debut for a Florida Rep production. The four New York-based actors in the show include Dante AlexanderMatt MonacoMichael Saguto and Dana Stern. They’re all also making their debut with the Florida Rep.

Lagomarsino said a central point of interest audiences will be left with concerns the basic notion of right and wrong.

“You want it to be black or white, but it’s always gray, and I personally, as a director and as a writer, I live in the gray because that’s reality and there’s usually no clear-cut answer,” said Lagomarsino.

“So, it explores that in really kind of a beautiful way.”

If You Go:

Florida Repertory Theatre’s production of Kenneth Lonergan’s “Lobby Hero” in the ArtStage Studio Theatre: 2268 Bay Street, Fort Myers 33901

April 18 – May 21

Click here for the full Gulf Coast Life Arts Edition conversation about this production with director Ron Lagomarsino.

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