Theater News

Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu's Pass Over Will Open on Broadway

The drama will be the first show to open at the August Wilson Theatre.

Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu
Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu
(© Beowulf Sheehan)

Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu's acclaimed drama Pass Over will be the show that reopens Broadway's August Wilson Theatre, with exact dates to be announced.

The production, a transfer of the 2018 Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3 staging, will once again be directed by Danya Taymor, with a creative team that includes Wilson Chin (set), Sarafina Bush (costumes), Marcus Doshi (lighting), and Justin Ellington (sound). Casting is by Daniel Swee. It will be produced by Matt Ross, Jujamcyn Theaters, Lincoln Center Theater, Concord Theatricals, Renee Montgomery, Blair Underwood, Madeleine Foster Bersin, and Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu.

In Pass Over, Moses and Kitch stand around on the corner — talking smack, passing the time, and hoping that today a miracle will come. A provocative mash-up of Waiting for Godot and the Exodus saga, Pass Over exposes the unquestionable human spirit of young black men who dream about a promised land they've yet to find. The drama was first presented at Steppenwolf Theatre, with Spike Lee capturing Taymor's production in a film that is currently available on Amazon Prime.

Casting for the Broadway engagement will be announced in the coming weeks.

Nwandu said in a statement, "In the summer of 2017, soon after our nation had elected Donald Trump as president, my creative team and I opened a production of Pass Over that shocked the conscience of our audiences. It premiered in Chicago at Steppenwolf and was captured by Spike Lee for Amazon Prime.

"In the summer of 2018, wanting to prick the conscience of liberal Americans who remain tentative in their condemnation of violence against Black people, I changed the ending of the play, and my team and I opened Pass Over at LCT3 in New York. That version of the play was then produced throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, London, and South Africa.

"And now, as my team and I prepare to produce this play again, I've asked myself: when the state-sanctioned murder of Black people in the United States remains visible and routine, and the world continues to reckon with the loss, trauma, and alienation caused by the global pandemic, how do I meet this moment?

"Though much about Pass Over remains a lament over the lives of Black people stolen too soon, I am happy to confirm that my team and I, along with our producers, are presenting a new version that centers the health, hope and joy of our audiences, especially Black people. We are re-uniting to envision this play again, to tell a version of the story on Broadway where Moses & Kitch both survive their encounter with white oppression."