Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero Opened on Broadway to Positive Reviews in a Production Directed by Trip Cullman and Starring Michael Cera

Trip Cullman Directs Excellent Cast in Broadway Premiere

lobby hero
On March 26, 2018, Lobby Hero opened at Broadway’s Helen Hayes Theatre, where it had been running in previews since March 1, 2018. The Second Stage production is currently scheduled to close on May 13. This marks the first time the not-for-profit theatre institution has produced a show on Broadway, even though they have long been operating out of their Off-Broadway home nearby in midtown at 8th Avenue and W 43rd St. They now call the Helen Hayes Theatre their Broadway home, and after a period of renovations Lobby Hero is their first production there.

This is also the first time Kenneth Lonergan’s play Lobby Hero has been on Broadway, although the show premiered Off-Broadway in 2001 at Playwrights Horizons. Since then, Lonergan’s star has continued to rise. His Broadway debut took place in 2014, with This Is Our Youth, also starring Michael Cera. Lonergan’s film career has been solid, most recently with his writing and directing of Manchester by the Sea, starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, which earned him the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Lobby Hero, directed by Trip Cullman (Six Degrees of Separation, Significant Other).

Excellent Reviews, Especially for the Cast

lobby hero
The play stars four accomplished actors: Michael Cera, best known for his screen roles including the television show Arrested Development, Bel Powley, who starred on Broadway in Arcadia and also has a rising film career with such roles as The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Brian Tyree Henry, best known for television show Atlanta, and Chris Evans, making his Broadway debut after starring as Captain America in the Marvel franchise.

The New York Times called the production “meticulously acted,” declaring that you feel “personally invested” in these characters even if they are not the most likable. The Hollywood Reporter praised Chris Evans’ leap from movie star to theater performer, deeming it a “star turn.” The Daily News complimented the “fine-tuned” show, enjoying its “funny-sad” nature and agreed about Evans’ “deft performance.” Entertainment Weekly called the performances “high-wattage," complimenting the “sparely staged” production.

Box Office Shows Room for Growth

Despite these all-around positive reviews, the box office is not a sell-out. The cast is notable, but not necessarily box office gold level. Furthermore, while this is the first time the play has been on Broadway, it is still a New York revival, and thus there are fresher options to be had. In the last week of reported box office figures, the week ending March 25, 2018, the show brought in $333,114, which represents 52.19% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $299, the average paid admission was $81.81, and the audience capacity averaged out to 87.6%.

The week before that, the week ending March 18, 2018, the show reached 60.82% of its gross potential, and the audience was filled up to an average of 97.0% of capacity. To date, the show has reached 56.50% of its gross potential over the four weeks of the run thus far. Therefore, there is still room for improvement in these numbers. The show is only running for another month and a half, and thus it may be a great option for someone looking for discount tickets to an excellent but under-selling option on Broadway!