Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s “Pass Over” will reopen the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway.
The play, directed by Danya Taymor, will play a limited engagement at the theater with exact dates to be announced in the coming weeks. “Pass Over” premiered in 2017 at Steppenwolf, in a production that was captured on film by director Spike Lee, before undergoing a revision and playing Lincoln Center’s Claire Tow Theater in 2018.
The 85-minute play, inspired by “Waiting for Godot” and book of Exodus, will be revised again for the Broadway production. The story centers on two young Black men, Moses and Kitch, as they discuss their hopes and dreams in a world filled with police violence.
To prepare for the Broadway production, Jujamcyn Theaters has upgraded all of its auditorium ventilation systems with MERV 13 filters and will be facilitating a “contactless experience” for patrons at the box office, upon entering the theaters and in the bathrooms, according to the press release. The theater will be employing “rigorous cleaning and sanitation protocols.”
These protocols — the first to be announced by a Broadway theater owner — come after Jujamcyn hosted a test run at its St. James Theatre in April for a pop-up event. Some of the protocols used for that event, including contact tracing, the requirement of vaccination or negative test verification, mask requirements and assigned entry times, may also be used for this production, if required by New York State or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the release.
The Broadway production will be produced by Matt Ross, Jujamcyn Theaters, Lincoln Center Theater, Concord Theatricals, Renee Montgomery, Blair Underwood, Madeleine Foster Bersin and Nwandu. Casting will be announced in the coming weeks.
This is the Broadway debut for both Taymor, who previously directed the “Heroes of a Fourth Turning” and “Daddy,” and Nwandu, a MacDowell Fellow and writer on Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It” on Netflix.
Nwandu said she changed the ending of the play in 2019 to “prick the conscience of liberal Americans who remain tentative in their condemnation of violence against Black people.” Now she sees an opportunity for another new ending.
“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,” Nwandu said. “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.”
Creative team members include scenic designer Wilson Chin, costume designer Sarafina Bush, lighting designer Marcus Doshi and sound designer Justin Ellington.
The August Wilson Theatre was previously home to “Mean Girls,” which announced in January that it would not return to Broadway.