Nyong’o, who took home the Oscar for her performance in 2013 film “12 Years a Slave,” makes her New York stage debut in the fall production of “Eclipsed,” to be directed by Lisel Tommy, who also helmed the play’s world premiere, which bowed at D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth Theater and New Haven’s Yale Rep in 2009. The Public Theater staging will mark the title’s New York premiere.
The Public, the major Off Broadway non-profit that runs Shakespeare in the Park and launched the buzzmagnet musical “Hamilton,” is no stranger to big-name stars. Anne Hathaway appeared in “Grounded” earlier this year, and actors ranging from Kevin Kline and Meryl Streep to Chloe Grace Moretz have done stints on Public stages.
Gurira, whose plays include “In the Continuum” and “The Convert,” will have another play Off Broadway this season when “Familiar” opens at Playwrights Horizons in the spring. The playwright’s highest-profile gig, however, is her role as Michonne on AMC series “The Walking Dead.”
Set during the Liberian Civil War, “Eclipsed” follows a group of women who are the captive wives of a rebel officer, and what happens when a new woman arrives. Nyong’o, who’s been onstage at theaters including Yale Rep (“The Winter’s Tale”), will appear in the show just ahead of the release of her next film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
“Eclipsed” adds a jolt of star power to a Public Theater season that also includes new works by Tarrell Alvin McCraney, Michael John LaChiusa and the duo of Stew and Heidi Rodewald. The production begins previews Sept. 29 prior to an Oct. 14 opening at the Public’s downtown venue.
The Public’s current offering, the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of “Cymbeline,” is currently in previews and opens Aug. 10.