Two short, truth-based plays that had acclaimed downtown runs just before the pandemic will make the leap to Broadway this fall with an unusual joint venture in which they will share a stage and alternate performances.
The plays are “Dana H.,” by Lucas Hnath, and “Is This a Room,” by Tina Satter. Both plays had Off Broadway runs at the nonprofit Vineyard Theater, and were praised by New York Times critics; both Ben Brantley and Jesse Green put “Is This a Room” on their list of the best theater of 2019, and Green put “Dana H.” on the 2020 list.
Both plays are unusual experiments in documentary theater. In “Dana H.”, the actress Deirdre O’Connell uncannily lip-syncs audio recordings in which Hnath’s mother, Dana Higginbotham, recounts being abducted and held captive by a man she had sought to counsel; in “Is This a Room,” a cast led by Emily Davis enacts the transcript of an F.B.I. interrogation of Reality Winner, a National Security Agency contractor prosecuted for leaking classified information.
The plays were both honored at the 2020 Obie Awards, where O’Connell and Davis won awards for their performances. Also, Les Waters, the director of “Dana H.,” won an Obie for sustained excellence in direction, and Satter won an award for the conception and direction of “Is This a Room.”
The Broadway productions, again starring O’Connell and Davis, will take place at the Lyceum Theater next fall and winter; the schedule will vary, but each play will run for some performances most weeks.
“Is This a Room,” which was developed by Half Straddle and had an initial run at the Kitchen, is scheduled to begin performances on Broadway Sept. 24 and to open Oct. 11. “Dana H.” was developed by the Civilians and Chicago’s Goodman Theater and had initial runs at the Center Theater Group in Los Angeles and at the Goodman; it is set to begin Broadway performances Oct. 1 and open Oct. 17. The productions are planned to run until Jan. 16.
The plays are being produced by Dori Berinstein, Sally Horchow and Matt Ross.
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