Two of the most exciting Off Broadway plays to premiere in the months before the COVID pandemic hit New York are coming to Broadway this fall — and in the same theater. Is This A Room and Dana H., which were both produced by the Vineyard Theatre, will play the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway, alternating performances, according to a press release. Is This A Room, conceived and directed by Tina Satter and No. 2 on our Best Theater of 2019 list, has Emily Davis play Reality Winner, the NSA interpreter who leaked information about Russian hacking in the 2016 election, reenacting the transcript from her 2017 arrest verbatim. In Dana H., the real life-to-theater reenactment goes a step further, with Deidre O’Connell lip-syncing recordings of playwright Lucas Hnath’s mother Dana Higginbotham discussing her five-month abduction with his collaborator Steve Cosson. Les Waters directs the play.
Both O’Connell and Davis will return to their roles in the Broadway staging of these plays. Is This A Room will begin performances September 24 and open on October 11. Dana H. will start October 1 and open on October 17. They will alternate performances at the Lyceum up until January 16, 2022.
Plays like Is This A Room and Dana H. haven’t typically appeared on Broadway in recent years, as the industry has tended to favor larger musicals or more star-driven plays, but this upcoming Broadway season is far from typical. It will see the Broadway debuts of numerous plays, including Pass Over, Chicken and Biscuits, Thoughts of a Colored Man, Lackawanna Blues, and Clyde’s, and some of the more standard fare is holding off until later in the season. The old guard of musicals will return in mid-September, but musicals like Company, The Music Man and MJ are holding off till November and December. Why? Potentially it’s a sign that producers are worried about how quickly out-of-town ticket buyers will return to the city, and holding off until there’s a better sense of how post-vaccination theater will work out. So with the tourists away, New Yorkers, please come see interesting plays.