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This episode contains strong language.

Antoinette Nwandu’s “Pass Over” made its Broadway debut this week. Drawing on “Waiting for Godot” and the Book of Exodus, the play follows two Black men trapped on a city block — both by existential dread, and by the fear of being killed by police.

But Broadway audiences won’t see the play’s original ending, which featured the death of one of the main characters.

“I no longer wanted to work on a play that ended with the murder of a Black man,” said Nwandu, who rewrote the final scene. “I want to focus on life.”

Nwandu’s play was the first to debut on Broadway since theaters closed their doors in March of 2020 and the first since a coalition of theater artists of color demanded change from the theater ecosystem in America.

Nwandu spoke with the theater reporter Michael Paulson about the changes she is personally bringing to theater, and her hopes for the industry — still grappling with the pandemic — as the curtains rise again.



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