Playwright Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu and director Danya Taymor will make their Broadway debuts with an upcoming limited engagement of Pass Over. The production, previously seen at Lincoln Center Theater, will reopen the August Wilson Theatre (most recently home to Mean Girls) as venues begin to welcome back audiences following the coronavirus shutdown. Exact dates (as well as casting) will be announced later.
Inspired by both Waiting for Godot and the Exodus saga, the play follows Moses and Kitch, two young Black men who dream of an existence beyond their street corner.
After premiering at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Pass Over opened Off-Broadway in 2018 as part of Lincoln Center Theater's LCT3 programming. A few months prior, a film version of the Chicago staging, directed by Spike Lee, debuted at Sundance Film Festival. It is now available to stream as an Amazon Prime original.
Nwandu has previously modified the play between its iterations, a move she says was born out of "wanting to prick the conscience of liberal Americans who remain tentative in their condemnation of violence against Black people." This new production, which will arrive on Broadway following a hiatus marked by a global pandemic, demands for racial justice, and a reckoning against abuse of power, will follow suit.
"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," the playwright says. "We are reuniting to envision this play again, to tell a version of the story on Broadway where Moses and Kitch both survive their encounter with white oppression."
Returning creative team members include scenic designer Wilson Chin, costume designer Sarafina Bush, lighting designer Marcus Doshi, and sound designer Justin Ellington. Casting is by Daniel Swee.
Nwandu, LCT, and August Wilson Theatre owner-operator Jujamcyn Theaters are among the producers, as are Matt Ross, Concord Theatricals, Renee Montgomery, Blair Underwood, and Madeleine Foster Bersin.
Pass Over is one of several plays by Black writers that have been announced for Broadway runs post-pandemic. Additional titles include Dominique Morisseau's Skeleton Crew and Ruben Santiago-Hudson's Lackawanna Blues (both from Manhattan Theatre Club), Keenan Scott II's Thoughts of a Colored Man, Alice Childress' Trouble in Mind (via Roundabout Theatre Company), and a world premiere from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage (set to play Second Stage Theater).