Review: ‘The Lehman Trilogy’ by PTC

Pioneer Theatre Company (PTC) opened its production of The Lehman Trilogy on March 29, 2024, in its brand-new space, The Meldrum Theatre. The high-stakes world of high finance has never been so entertaining (and you can take that to the bank).

The play is part history, part Corporate thriller as it follows three immigrant brothers on their journey as they build an empire from garment production and cotton trading onto the highest heights of Wall Street as Lehman Brothers Inc. But what goes up must come down and this 150-year-long saga takes us from rags to riches and back again. 

This play is an actors’ delight with just three players (Jeff Talbott, William Connell and Seth Andrew Bridges commanding the stage in more than 50 roles. Henry Lehman (Jeff Talbott) opens the show with a gorgeous monologue. His flawless storytelling and characterization paint the perfect picture of an immigrant moving to America from Germany, his fears and his hopes. He is joined by Emanuel Lehman (William Connell). William’s focus on pacing and mood sets the tone of each scene. Finally, Meyer [Spud] Lehman (Seth Andrew Bridges) enters. Throughout The Lehman Trilogy, Bridges demonstrates an incredible range of emotional variability, creating an atmosphere of care for the whole Lehman family. In the script, the three characters are described as a body: Henry, the head; Emanuel, the arm; and Meyer, the guts and heart. Together, the three actors forge a full-body performance on a fabulously designed set that takes full advantage of the new Meldrum Theatre’s capabilities.  

The Lehman Trilogy in Salt Lake
The Lehman Trilogy debuted at PTC’s new Meldrum Theatre. Photo by BW Productions.

The new theater, play’s set and production design are themselves a character. The Meldrum Theatre’s elevated thrust stage was pre-set as we entered the theater, giving us tantalizing glimpses of massive set pieces. The staging was thorough and playful with the audience, incorporating much of the space including stairways. Matching the production pyrotechnics are the three actors deftly pacing lines and blocking with live set changes. Costuming, designed by Yoon Bae, was a star of the show, giving the actors solid footing to reveal their characters as the historical periods and the Lehmans’ financial and social status evolves.

This show had us on the edge of our seats for its three-hour run time, It was dazzling to see the actors flip through the more than 50 roles like a deck of cards. And even though we all generally know what became of Lehman Brothers Inc., in the market crash of 2008, the audience was easily sucked into the story and wondering what came next. Perhaps it was the pleasure of seeing corporate giants get knocked off their pedestals—you don’t need to have an MBA to enjoy that.

Austin McKay Burt
Austin McKay Burt
Austin McKay Burt has surrounded his life with theatre since he was 8 years old. He has always had a fascination with the performing arts and has performed in more than 25 different shows thus far and can't wait to experience more. Primarily an actor, Austin has an extensive background in theater elements as well; ranging from stage managment to production design. He writes local theater reviews for Salt Lake magazine.

Similar Articles