The stage adaptation of “Room,” one of the most anticipated new plays of the spring Broadway season, is postponed indefinitely. The show was scheduled to begin performances on April 3, 2023 at the James Earl Jones Theatre. Rehearsals have ceased as the operation has shut down as of Thursday, March 16 2023.
The news must be particularly devastating for lead Adrienne Warren. The Tony-winner (“Tina: The Tina Turner Musical”) was widely predicted to receive another nomination for her turn as Ma. The role won Brie Larson an Oscar for the movie adaptation. Warren sat in fourth place in the Lead Actress in a Play category in Gold Derby’s combined odds.
Unless the Tony Administration Committee rules that any of the spring contenders will compete in a category contrary to their billing, Warren’s absence means there are just six women contending for a nomination. That is the lowest number of contenders a race can have while still yielding four nominees. With Jodie Comer (“Prima Facie”), Jessica Chastain (“A Doll’s House”), and Audra McDonald (“Ohio State Murders”) leading our odds, there is now an open slot up for grabs. This could go to Zoe Wanamaker (“Pictures From Home”) or one of the co-leads of “Summer, 1976,” Laura Linney and Jessica Hecht.
This postponement also removes two celebrated featured performers from the Tony conversation. Kate Burton was sitting in sixth place in our combined odds for Featured Actress in a Play. The theater veteran is a three-time Tony nominee for “The Elephant Man,” “Hedda Gabler,” and “The Constant Wife.” Likewise, rising star and Tony nominee Ephraim Sykes (“Ain’t Too Proud”) won’t have a shot at Featured Actor this year.
“Room” also had the distinction of being referred to as a “play with music,” so its absence in the Tony races will be felt beyond the play categories. The original music, from composers Cora Bissett and Kathryn Joseph, was predicted to land a nomination for Best Score. Now there is space for that entire category to be filled out with musicals, as Helen Shaw’s catchy songs for “KPOP” and rock tuner “Almost Famous” (from Cameron Crowe and Tom Kitt) spy an open slot. Tony nominators could still choose to endorse underscoring from one of the many lushly scored plays of the season, such as “Life of Pi” and “Leopoldstadt.” Hopefully “Room” will make its way to New York in the future to have another shot at life, and at Tony Awards glory.
SEE 2023 Tony Awards nominations prediction center is active! 23 plays jockey for Broadway’s top honors
The production indicates that the shocking development is due to a shortfall in capitalization and following the withdrawal of a lead producer. “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.”
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