Entertainment & Arts

Walking Dead star's play hits Broadway with Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o and Danai Gurira Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lupita Nyong'o's (left) role in Eclipsed by Danai Gurira (right) marks her stage debut

Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o is to star on Broadway in Eclipsed, a play written by Walking Dead actress Danai Gurira, according to reports.

Eclipsed is a hard-hitting drama about women captured and raped by a Liberian rebel officer.

The sell-out play marked the 12 Years a Slave and Star Wars star's stage debut when opening earlier this year.

Gurira, who plays Michonne in huge TV hit The Walking Dead, is the award-winning writer of four plays.

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Eclipsed is considered notable as a rare production written by a woman to get a spot on Broadway.

There has been only one other this current season, an adaptation of Emile Zola's horror story Therese Raquin, written by the British playwright Helen Edmundson.

Eclipsed also stands out for dealing with the difficult subject matter of rape in Africa.

The last play to cover the issue was Ruined in 2009, although it was controversially not granted a Broadway run despite its success.

Ethnically diverse

Oskar Eustis, the artistic director of the off-Broadway Public Theatre, where Eclipsed is currently running, told the New York Times he hoped its main stage run would "break a barrier that will stay broken".

"It's an incredibly emotional play and by the end very deeply touching and harrowing, and yet Danai has written it so beautifully it ultimately feels life-affirming, about how women in horrible circumstances are able to find their own agency."

Zimbabwean-American Gurira's other plays are In the Continuum, The Convert and Familiar, which also deal with female identity and race.

Nyong'o, who was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, became an overnight star with her performance in 12 Years a Slave, winning last year's best supporting actress Academy Award.

'Healthy for Broadway'

They are part of an ethnically diverse production team which African-American producer Stephen Byrd says is also rare.

"There's a market out there that has not really been addressed with plays that can draw a cross-section of people to theatre," Byrd said.

"It's going to be an interesting season, and it's very healthy for Broadway."

Eclipsed finishes at the Public Theatre on 29 November and begins previews at Broadway's John Golden Theatre on 23 February, Hollywood Reporter said.

Its official opening will be on 6 March.

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