“Is This a Room” and “Dana H.” will close two months earlier than scheduled.
The two plays are playing in repertory at the Lyceum Theatre and moved to Broadway after Off-Broadway runs at the Vineyard Theatre. Both shows received overwhelmingly positive reviews on Broadway, but producers Dori Berinstein, Sally Horchow and Matt Ross cited a “challenging landscape” for their closure.
This is the first production to post a closing notice since Broadway’s reopening.
The two plays just recently opened on Broadway, with “Is This a Room” opening Oct. 11 and “Dana H.” opening Oct. 17.
“Is This a Room” will now play its final performance at 2 p.m. on Nov. 13 and “Dana H.” will play its final performance on Nov. 14. Both plays were originally scheduled for limited runs ending Jan. 16, 2022.
The closure of the production underscores the uncertain nature of the industry’s return. The Broadway League is not publicly reporting grosses, so it is difficult to track the overall financial health of the industry. However, tourism numbers are still down and industry experts have observed that theatergoers are waiting until the last minute to buy theater tickets, which cuts down on a production’s advance and makes each show’s trajectory more unknown.
“Is This a Room” and “Dana H.” producers said that while ticket sales for both shows have “steadily increased,” it was not enough to offset the production’s costs. Additionally, the production did not have government funding, such as the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, which other productions have been able to use to offset costs. That grant was only available to returning shows.
“Ticket sales have steadily increased for the shows but despite effusive reactions from both audiences and critics, the finances of the production don’t allow us to buy more time to reach a sustainable level, especially without the federal or state funding to use as working capital,” Berinstein, Horchow and Ross said in a statement.
The two plays were capitalized together for $3.5 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Is This a Room,” conceived and directed by Tina Satter, began performances Sept. 24 and Lucas Hnath’s “Dana H.,” began performances Oct. 1. Both shows featured spare sets, few cast members — with Deirdre O’Connell as the sole star of “Dana H.” — and a documentary approach to theater.
By running the plays in repertory, the producers had hoped to not only cut down on costs, but put forth a new model for bringing plays to Broadway. The goal was to have the plays support each other and give each show more time to build an audience.
“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,” Berinstein, Horchow and Ross said in the press release. “We urge audiences to not miss out on what audiences and critics have rightly called ‘unmissable’ new theatre.”