Actress Lupita Nyong'o proved to be a shining star with her Broadway debut in new play Eclipsed.
The Oscar winner took her first official bow at the John Golden Theater in New York on Sunday (06Mar16), when she and her castmates earned a standing ovation for the play, written by The Walking Dead's Danai Gurira.
Eclipsed centers around a group of captive wives of a rebel officer in the Liberian Civil War, and Nyong'o portrays The Girl, a semi-literate, 15-year-old who becomes the fourth wife of the commanding officer.
Charles Isherwood of The New York Times leads the rave reviews of Nyong'o, praising the 33-year-old as "one of the most radiant young actors to be seen on Broadway in recent seasons," adding that she "shines with a compassion that makes us see beyond the suffering to the indomitable humanity of its characters... Ms. Nyong’o, simply superb, illuminates her character’s conflicted feelings with pinpoint clarity."
"There’s no concealing the fact that she is a natural in her Broadway debut," writes Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News. "Powerful, poignant, thoroughly convincing as a 15-year-old girl surviving any way she can during wartime in Africa."
Eclipsed enjoyed a successful Off Broadway run last year (15), and Vulture critic Jesse Green was left impressed by Nyong'o's ability to delve deeper into her character than when he saw the production prior to its Broadway debut.
"But what’s most noticeably different is happening right at the center of the show: Nyong’o has managed to burrow further into her portrayal of the Girl, a feat that did not seem possible back in October," Green writes. "The intelligence and variety of her choices, the naturalism of her reactions to trauma, the fear constantly leaking through her bravado: All are deeper now.
"Meanwhile, her star power... is not to be ignored. It doesn’t just make a production like this possible; it makes it legible, to the back of the theater and, more importantly, to the back of our souls."
Hours before taking the stage, Nyong'o took to Twitter.com to thank fans for their support by posting a photo of a handwritten letter sharing 12 facts about Eclipsed.
One of the facts reads: "I first played my character as an understudy in drama school! I never went on, and I promised myself back then that I would play 'The Girl' some day, somehow, somewhere and it’s mindblowing to get to do it on Broadway."