Meadville Community Theatre’s Lobby Hero

By Carrie Canfield

Since the turn of the century community theaters have been the cornerstone of the theatrical arts communitylobby and have given birth to many of the most talented actors and the most captivating performances.

With the same energy, commitment to craft and enthusiasm as that which has kept the community theater the heart and soul of the theatrical world, the Meadville Community Theatre serves as a wonderful outlet for local creativity.

Nestled in the heart of the Allegheny College Campus, the theatre showcases the best talent of the community and the artistic drive that makes Meadville a center of vision and forward thinking.

Carrying the torch of progressive thinking, Director Dan Authier and Assistant Director Marie Loose dare to embark on unraveling the layers of writer Kenneth Lonergan’s brilliant play “Lobby Hero.”

In this gripping tale that surrounds four lives that converge in the lobby of an upscale New York apartment building, the plot thickens as murder, an alibi, deceit, love affairs, a brother’s loyalty, one police officer’s need to stand out as more than a rookie and another’s need to cover up his deceit and betrayal unravel.

After only a few minutes, any sense you have of being a member of the audience has vanished, as you are completely absorbed in what is going on the stage.

Brock Woodring stars as William, a late night security guard at an upscale New York City apartment building, who is faced with his brother’s arrest for murder. While William comes forward with an alibi that clears his brother’s name of any wrongdoing, all is not as it seems and loyalties wear thin when guilt overshadows his decision.  With a gift for improvisation and a flare for understatement, Woodring is a perfect foil for Neal’s character and stands out as more than a new kid on the block.

A perfect counter part to Woodring’s understatement is Dave Neal who plays the chatty, nosey, invasive, and opinionated doorman. The character may rarely get off his ass, but Neal’s certainly steps up to the plate with a performance that will have audiences laughing with off the cuff humor, as he lends humility, wit, and charm to a character that may easily be seen as a nuisance.

Jim Hollerman shines as Bill, the married, but stereotypical philandering and sexist New York cop that you will love to hate. Caught up in not only an affair with his partner, one with his married mistress and a murder investigation, the character may have a lot to juggle, but Hollerman shows his moxie and talent as a veteran actor.

Carrie Pongratz shines as Dawn, the rookie New York cop whose need to fit in and succeed leads her to a string of bad decisions. Faced with the sexist attitudes of her coworkers, Dawn begins a torrid affair with her partner, Bill. When things go awry for the two, she faces a decision that can free her from the shackles of her lover, or cast her further down the rabbit hole.

An incredible set that transports the audience to the world that Lonergan created, and a cast that delivers unforgettable performances, the Meadville Community Theatre’s rendition offers audiences what might be described as an out of body experience, totally captivating your senses as well as your emotions.

Lobby Hero will be running from January 17-19 and 24-25, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm.

For more information on this play or reservations, please contact the Meadville Community Theatre box-office at (814) 333-1773.






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