Playwright Lucas Hnath, right, with his mother Dana Higginbotham and Director Les Waters at the Broadway opening of Dana H. Credit: Jennifer Broski

This story is brought to you by the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

The plot could have been ripped from your favorite true-crime TV show or podcast: a hospital chaplain tries to help her psych ward patient, then he breaks into her home and holds her captive for five months in a series of Florida motel rooms. But this critically acclaimed drama can only be experienced in the theater. Opening June 3 at Berkeley Rep, “Dana H.” is a thrilling real-life tale and a feat of storytelling virtuosity.

Dana Higginbotham’s riveting story is told in her own words, based on several days of audio interviews and reconstructed for the stage by her son, the award-winning playwright Lucas Hnath. It is pure theatrical magic: The audience hears Dana’s real voice, but sees actress Jordan Baker on stage, lip-syncing Dana’s words. 

It is nearly 90 minutes of “perfectly realized long-form lip-syncing,” says Director Les Waters. “Watching a performer do something that at first sight, seems impossible,” is exhilarating, he says, and it has landed this show three newly announced Tony Award nominations including a best direction nod for Waters, along with Lucille Lortel Awards for best solo show and sound design.

Jordan Baker plays Dana in this solo show, opening at Berkeley Rep June 3. Credit: Francis Hill

Baker says that being on stage with Dana’s voice “is like a piece of music that begins to play and we come together in voice and body. I remember how the Broadway houses were so silent, not a breath could be heard.”

After the play’s critically acclaimed Broadway run last winter, Berkeley Rep grabbed it for this June, making it a new addition to the theater’s 2021-22 season. Waters is restaging his original Broadway direction for Berkeley Rep’s presentation. 

Like any good psychological thriller, “Dana H.” leads audiences through a rollercoaster ride of plot twists and turns, subverting their expectations and keeping them talking long after the play has ended.

Audiences have been equally enthralled by the show’s captivating plot and its exceptional level of craft. Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer says that seeing “Dana H.” is “being in the presence of something extraordinarily theatrical” that “you cannot have in television or film.”

“Dana H.” runs June 3 through July 10 at Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre at 2015 Addison Street. Run time is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. Patrons must wear masks and show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. For ticket information contact the box office at 510-647-2949 Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. or visit Berkeley Rep’s website.

This story was written and paid for by the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, whose mission is to create ambitious theatre that entertains and challenges its audiences, provokes civic engagement, and inspires people to experience the world in new and surprising ways.