Story at a glance

  • The play "Pass Over" began previews on Wednesday and opens on Sept. 12.
  • Attendees will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test.
  • Broadway was one of the many industries hit hard by the pandemic shutdowns.

For the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, an original play will perform on Broadway, signaling a gradual reopening of the shuttered theater economy.

"Pass Over," written and produced by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu, has received widespread critical acclaim and opened for previews on Wednesday, Aug. 4. It will hold its opening night on Sept. 12 at the August Wilson Theatre in midtown Manhattan.

It marks the first performance of a Broadway play since March 2020, just before the pandemic gripped New York City and forced the country into widespread lockdowns. 

 

 

“On a certain level, we are all on uncharted territory here,” Nwandu told CBS Evening News. “I feel a sense of responsibility, because the mantle for Broadway is on me. Not just for my play, but for audiences who are going to be coming in from COVID-19 with the racial reckoning of George Floyd’s murder on their minds.”

The plot of "Pass Over" follows two Black men, Moses and Kitch, who discuss their trials and dreams of their own promised land. 

Nwandu added that in addition to the anxiety surrounding the delta variant spread, her work will remind the audience of the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred throughout 2020 following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. 

“We are now reintroducing that topic with this play,” she said.

Per new Broadway and citywide public health regulations, proof of vaccination will be required for entry.

Those who are unvaccinated can be admitted, but they will need to produce a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arriving at the show. Masks will be required as well outside of select areas designated for eating and drinking. 

Scores of workers across many parts of Broadway, from actors to lighting and set design staff, faced mass layoffs and unemployment once the pandemic shut their industry down, which severely dented the city’s economy. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) organized theatre workers to receive vaccinations ahead of planned shows in the fall. 

“We’ll do everything in our power to bring Broadway and off-Broadway back strong,” de Blasio said in March

Following the debut of "Pass Over," dozens of other shows are set to resume production, including "Hamilton," "Jagged Little Pill," "Moulin Rouge! The Musical" and "The Book of Mormon."

Published on Aug 05, 2021