The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira’s New Play Eclipsed Brings the Stories of African Women to Broadway

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We all know Danai Gurira as the indomitable Michonne on AMC’s The Walking Dead. What you may not know is that Gurira is also an accomplished playwright! Her latest effort, Eclipsed, is starting previews on Broadway tomorrow after a successful off-Broadway run at The Public Theater.

Eclipsed is one of three plays Gurira has written and has seen produced. She co-wrote 2005’s In the Continuum, and also co-starred in it, earning Obie, Outer Critics Circle, Helen Hayes, and John Gassner Awards for her performance. She wrote Eclipsed in 2009, and while that got workshopped and shopped around, she wrote The Convert in 2012, for which she won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Writing.

Now, Eclipsed has finally made its way to Broadway. It stars Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, and it has a female director in Leisl Tommy! The fact that this all-female team is all African and telling a story about African women on Broadway is pretty damn amazing. Here’s the official description from the Eclipsed website:

On the heels of her Academy Award-winning, breakout performance in 12 Years a Slave, LUPITA NYONG’O stunned critics and audiences in the Public Theater’s sold-out hit ECLIPSED—the “scorching and powerful” (The Guardian) new play by Zimbabwean-American playwright and actress DANAI GURIRA (star of AMC’s The Walking Dead and co-author of In the Continuum). Now, the global star makes her Broadway debut in this “must-see” (NBC New York) production written, directed and performed entirely by female artists.

ECLIPSED is the story of five extraordinary women brought together by upheaval in their homeland of Liberia. They forge a close-knit community… one that inspires them to feats of increasingly greater strength. Directed by South African-born LIESL TOMMY (The Good Negro, Appropriate), ECLIPSED is a stirring tale of hope, humor and resilience—and the only new play by a woman on Broadway this season.

Also starring PASCALE ARMAND (The Trip to Bountiful), AKOSUA BUSIA (The Color Purple, film), ZAINAB JAH (Law & Order: SVU) and SAYCON SENGBLOH (Motown).

Check out this awesome video from PBS NewsHour in which Gurira talks about what the play means to her:

“The stories about Africans always somehow miraculously had a western protagonist, and I was like ‘wow.’ Do we not merit our own ability to tell our own stories?” Watch Danai Gurira, Eclipsed on Broadway playwright and star of The Walking Dead, give her #BriefButSpectacular take on creating complex stories for unheard voices.

Posted by PBS NewsHour on Thursday, February 18, 2016

It’s times like this that I regret no longer living in New York! Eclipsed begins previews TOMORROW and officially opens at the Golden Theater on Broadway on March 6th. Will you be going to see it?

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.