Directed by Academy Award nominated filmmaker Spike Lee, the documentary captures the Broadway production in its final days of performance at the Belasco Theatre in July 2008. Lee also offers backstage glimpses of the musical during the 135-minute film.
Passing Strange features a Tony Award-winning book by Stew, lyrics by Stew, and music by Stew and his longtime musical partner Heidi Rodewald of The Negro Problem.
Included in the film are original cast members Stew, Rodewald, de'Adre Aziza, Daniel Breaker, Eisa Davis, Colman Domingo, Chad Goodridge and Rebecca Naomi Jones. The onstage band includes Jon Spurney, Christian Cassan and Christian Gibbs.
With the aid of director and collaborator Annie Dorsen, Passing Strange incorporates autobiographical elements of Stew's life to tell the story of a young black bohemian who leaves behind his middle-class, church-ruled upbringing in Los Angeles to travel abroad in search of his artistic and personal identity.
The film premiered as part of the 25th annual Sundance Film Festival last winter and was screened at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. Passing Strange will also be part of PBS' "Great Performances" series in 2010.