The gripping new drama Pass Over plays the August Wilson Theatre. Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s riveting, provocative work will be the first new play to open on Broadway since the shutdown of March 2020.
Inspired by Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot and by the biblical Book of Exodus, Pass Over follows Moses and Kitch as they hang out on a street corner talking and joking. While they pass the time, the two wonder if today will be different. But when a stranger enters their space, Moses and Kitch’s plans are disrupted. Nwandu’s poetic, politically charged new work confronts the limits and the failures of the American dream.
Pass Over premiered in Chicago in 2017 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Legendary director Spike Lee filmed the Steppenwolf production for Amazon Prime. The play then had its New York off-Broadway premiere at Lincoln Center Theater in 2018, in a sold-out run met with critical acclaim. Read a 2018 review of Pass Over at Lincoln Center Theater.
Nwandu’s play was inspired in part by the shooting of Trayvon Martin, whose death sparked widespread protests across the nation. Pass Over confronts the fear which daily plagues Black lives, where even hanging out on a corner can mean risking your life. Nwandu has updated the text for every production in response to shifting world events, and will be updating the script again for the play’s Broadway premiere.
New York Times chief critic Jesse Green declared the Lincoln Center production “thrillingly tense” and “blazingly theatrical,” while Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter wrote the play is “a powerfully imaginative drama that will shake up audiences.”
(Photos from 2018 production by Jeremy Daniel)