Broadway Openings: IS THIS A ROOM and DANA H. (Lyceum)

Post image for Broadway Openings: IS THIS A ROOM and DANA H. (Lyceum)

by Tony Frankel on September 10, 2021

in Theater-New York

YOU THINK BIGGER IS BETTER ON BROADWAY?
THINK AGAIN.

This is a fascinating year for Broadway. Not only are big-ticket plays and musicals coming back to life post-COVID, but we are also seeing proven experimental, smaller productions making the move to bigger houses. Case in point: Matt Ross and other like-minded producers are bringing Is This A Room (conceived and directed by Obie Award winner Tina Satter) and Dana H. (by Lucas Hnath and directed by Les Waters) to Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre on a rotating schedule this fall. Both were presented in succession as part of Vineyard Theatre’s 2019-2020 season. Visit thelyceumplays.com for performance schedule.

Is This A Room is the astonishingly true story of Reality Winner, the 25-year-old former Air Force intelligence specialist who was surprised at her home by the FBI on June 3, 2017. The play’s text is taken from the FBI transcript of her interrogation – and from these pages, Tina Satter has wrought an extraordinary human drama between Reality (Emily Davis) and the agents who question her. In this theatrical thriller, Reality’s life is upended before our eyes, and we’re left questioning American values and the very nature of the truth. Joining Emily Davis as Reality Winner will be Becca Blackwell as Unknown Male, Will Cobbs as Agent Taylor and Pete Simpson as Agent Garrick.

But it is Dana H. that I was privileged to see twice at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in L.A., a production which is very much what you will see on Broadway. It tells the harrowing true story of a woman held captive in a series of Florida motels for five months. Told in Dana’s own words and reconstructed for the stage by her son, playwright Lucas Hnath, this groundbreaking work shatters the boundaries of the art form and challenges our understanding of good and evil.

Stage and Cinema‘s review said, “I will always love good theater but, even so, every so often there comes along a play that actually restores one’s faith in the possibilities of theater. Dana H by the brilliant Lucas Hnath is just such a play. And Les Waters’ direction couldn’t be more precise. It was a riveting experience and cannot be explained without giving away too much. In addition to extraordinary storytelling, one sequence is so electrifying that it becomes one of those rare theatrical moments which once seen will never be forgotten, and the sheer genius of achieving power by keeping things simple and straightforward, there is the incredible, often magical, performance of Deirdre O’Connell.”

O’Connell will reprise her Obie Award-winning performance; Jordan Baker will serve as Standby.

photos of Deirdre O’Connell in L.A.’s production of Dana H. by Craig Schwartz

Tickets are available through Telecharge.com and are on sale through Sunday January 16, 2022. Information regarding tickets for Vineyard Theatre Members is available at vineyardtheatre.org.

Previews for Is This A Room begin September 24, 2021, with an opening night scheduled for October 11, 2021. Previews for Dana H. begin October 1, 2021, with an opening night scheduled for October 17, 2021. The two productions will play alternating performances for a 17-week engagement through January 16, 2022.

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