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Broadway's 'Is This a Room' and 'Dana H.' to close early
Emily Davis, center, as Reality Winner, with Will Cobbs, left, and Pete Simpson, who play F.B.I. agents, in the play “Is This a Room” at the Lyceum Theater in New York on Sept. 23, 2021. A pair of short experimental dramas that made an unlikely journey to Broadway this fall will close early, reflecting a tough climate for new plays as the industry seeks to recover from the lengthy pandemic shutdown. Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

by Michael Paulson

NEW YORK, NY.- A pair of short experimental dramas that made an unlikely journey to Broadway this fall will close early, reflecting a tough climate for new plays as the industry seeks to recover from the lengthy pandemic shutdown.

“Is This a Room” and “Dana H.” will end their runs on Nov. 14. They had been scheduled to close Jan. 16.

“While we would’ve loved to run through our original end date, we recognize that we are in a challenging landscape for live performance and we’re grateful to have had a chance to share this work,” the producers, Dori Berinstein, Sally Horchow and Matt Ross, said in a statement Monday.

The plays were jointly capitalized for up to $3.5 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That money has not been recouped by investors.

The reviews were strong for both works. “Is This a Room,” which is a verbatim re-enactment of the FBI interrogation of Reality Winner, began previews Sept. 24 and opened Oct. 11. The play was conceived and directed by Tina Satter and stars Emily Davis.

“Dana H.,” in which an actress, Deirdre O’Connell, lip-syncs a series of audio interviews in which the playwright’s mother describes being abducted by a man she had been counseling, began previews Oct. 1 and opened Oct. 17. The author is Lucas Hnath, and the play is directed by Les Waters.

The plays, which are running at the Lyceum Theater, are the first casualties of the uncertain climate on Broadway this fall. The industry is concerned enough about its economic state that it is not disclosing box-office grosses — a break with decades of practice — so it is hard to know how shows are doing. Producers say that several big musicals, and even some plays, are doing well, but that new plays, long a challenge on Broadway, are struggling.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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