Lupita Nyong’o will take her passion project “Eclipsed” all the way to Broadway, with the play — written by Danai Gurira, the playwright who is also a star of “The Walking Dead” — lining up a spring opening in a season that is already unusually crowded with diverse fare.
“Eclipsed,” making the move to Broadway following the glowing reviews it received after its Oct. 14 opening at Off Broadway’s Public Theater, will also mark the latest commercial transfer for the Public, which has become an increasingly frequent launching pad for attention-grabbing work. In recent years, Tony champ “Fun Home” and buzzmagnet “Hamilton” have bowed at the downtown theater prior to moving uptown.
Before winning the Academy Award for her role in “Twelve Years a Slave,” Nyong’o was an understudy in a 2009 production of “Eclipsed” at the Yale Repertory Theater, and has said she’s wanted to return to the play ever since.
“Eclipsed” will arrive on Broadway in the midst of a season that has already made waves as one of the most diverse in many years, with titles ranging from “Spring Awakening,” featuring deaf actors; “Allegiance,” starring a largely Asian-American cast; “On Your Feet!,” about Gloria and Emilio Estefan; and “The Color Purple,” with an African-American ensemble — not to mention “Hamilton,” which casts a racially diverse group of actors in the roles of America’s founding fathers.
Such diversity comes just as the theater industry has become aware of a lack of diversity and gender parity behind the scenes, particularly in the playwrights whose work gets produced. “Eclipsed” will be the second play this season to be written by a woman, following “Therese Raquin,” which opens later this month in an adaptation by playwright Helen Edmundson.
“Eclipsed,” which finishes up its extended run at the Public Nov. 29, will begin previews at Broadway’s Golden Theater Feb. 23 ahead of a March 6 opening. Nyong’o’s next film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” will hit theaters Dec. 18.