The only female nominee for Best Play

Playwright and star of The Walking Dead, Danai Gurira, is a Zimbabwean-American, or Zimerican, as she calls herself. One of her plays, ‘Eclipsed’, has garnered six nominations for the 70th Tony Awards, including a nomination for Best Play. Other plays in this category are Stephen Karam’s ‘The Humans’, Mike Bartlett’s ‘King Charles III’, Florian Zeller’s ‘The Father’ and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘Hamilton’, which scored a record 16 nominations. It is Gurira’s first Tony nomination and she happens to be the only female nominee in this category. This is one of several reasons she is already a winner regardless of the outcome of the award ceremony on 12 June.

Set of 'Eclipsed'. Photo: The Walking Dead Cast Pictures/Flickr
Set of ‘Eclipsed’. Photo: The Walking Dead Cast Pictures/Flickr

Garnered several awards for the play

In addition to the nomination for Gurira, ‘Eclipsed’, also, got several other nominations for its cast and crew. Lupita Nyong’o’ was nominated for Best Actress in a Play, Saycon Sengbloh and Pascale Armand for Best Featured Actress in a Play, Clint Ramos for Best Costume Design and Liesl Tommy for Best Direction of a Play. A little detail that might interest African women is that all cast and creative team members of the play are black women, a feat unprecedented on Broadway. Hopefully, some of them will win a Tony.

Gurira (L), with American actor, Clark Gregg . Photo: uncle_shoggoth/Flickr
Gurira (L), with American actor, Clark Gregg . Photo: uncle_shoggoth/Flickr

Gurira projects Liberia’s story onto an international stage

Eclipsed’, which is set in Liberia in 2003, tells the story of five women struggling to survive during the civil war in the country; some of the women live as sex slaves, belonging to the commander of the rebel group, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). The play opened Off-Broadway in October 2015 and then on Broadway in March, 2016.

On the whole, 2016 has turned out to be a fantastic year for Gurira, even on the acting front. She continues to hold down her role as Michonne in The Walking Dead, one of the biggest series on TV. In January, it was announced that 38 year old Gurira she has been cast as Tupac Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur, in the forthcoming biopic, All Eyez on Me.