Stage Door News

New York: Broadway production of the play “Room” postpones indefinitiely

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The upcoming Broadway bow of Room by Emma Donoghue has been indefinitely postponed. A "shortfall in capitalization" and "the withdrawal of a lead producer" have been cited as the reason. Previews were set to begin at the James Earl Jones Theatre April 3 for a limited engagement to open April 17 and run through September 17.

Tony winner Adrienne Warren was set to lead the cast with Cora Bissett attached to direct. Rehearsals began earlier this month as Playbill spoke with Warren on her first day of rehearsals, March 1. In the interview, Warren spoke about the hope she found in the work.

“The play is about the way in which we can sometimes be imprisoned by situations in our lives. How do we overcome them? Survival in itself is something that is to be honored and to be appreciated, when you are able to take one step and put it in front of another,” Warren shared. “That’s what I love about this piece. There’s so much hope in it.”

The cancellation comes abruptly, following the invitation of critics and the mounting of the show’s marquee on the façade of the James Earl Jones Theatre.

The cast was to include Tony nominee Ephraim Sykes as SuperJack, superhero alter ego of Little Jack; child actors Aiden Mekhi Sierra and Christopher Woodley alternating in the role of Little Jack; three-time Tony nominee and Emmy nominee Kate Burton (The Constant Wife, Hedda Gabler, The Elephant Man) as Grandma; Tina Benko (The Rose Tattoo, The Crucible) as Interviewer/Police Officer; Michael Genet (The Prom, Choir Boy) as Grandpa/Doctor; and Triney Sandoval (Bernhardt/Hamlet, Marvin’s Room) as Old Nick.

The company also included Anthony Chatmon II as understudy for SuperJack and Canadian Alexis Gordon, who played Ma in London, Ontario, and Toronto, as understudy for Ma.

“In the midst of our rehearsals, we were informed by one of our lead producers that due to personal reasons, they did not intend to fulfill their obligations to the production. Since being notified, the rest of the producing team has exhausted all possible avenues to keep the show on track, but the narrow timeline and economic shortfall created by this series of events has proven to be insurmountable,” said producer Hunter Arnold. “We are incredibly disappointed not to be able to open this remarkable production at this time and are especially heartbroken for our incredibly talented cast and creative team who were hard at work in the rehearsal room.”

Producers Sam Julyan and James Yeoburn stated, “We have been honored to share the story of Room since its world premiere in 2017 in London and its subsequent productions in Dublin, Scotland, and Ontario. We truly believe that today’s disappointing news will not be the end of Room on stage.”

All purchased tickets will be refunded. Ticket buyers should return to their point-of-purchase.

Based on London (ON) resident Donoghue's 2010 best-selling novel of the same name, Room follows a kidnapped mother who has been trapped in a room for seven years, and her six year old son Jack, who has never known the outside world. The work was previously adapted for the screen in 2015, with Donoghue also adapting that iteration. The stage adaptation features songs and music by Bisset and fellow Scottish singer-songwriter Kathryn Joseph.

The production was also to feature set and costume design by Lily Arnold and projection design by Andrzej Goulding.

The work premiered in 2017 at Theatre Royal Stratford East in London, and transferred to the Abbey Theatre in Dublin last year. The play made its North American premiere at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario, in 2022 after a planned 2020 run was cancelled due to COVID-19. That production later transferred to Toronto, playing its final performance May 8, 2022.

Broadway producers included Sam Julyan, James Yeoburn, ShowTown Productions, and Hunter Arnold. ShowTown Productions served as general managers.

From Leah Putnam for