NY-Bound Musical Passing Strange Begins Debut Oct. 19 in CA at Berkeley Rep

News   NY-Bound Musical Passing Strange Begins Debut Oct. 19 in CA at Berkeley Rep Singer-songwriter Stew's New York-bound musical Passing Strange starts its world premiere run at California's Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Oct. 19.
Stew and his longtime collaborator Heidi Rodewald (standing) bring their songs to the stage for the  world premiere of Passing Strange at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
Stew and his longtime collaborator Heidi Rodewald (standing) bring their songs to the stage for the world premiere of Passing Strange at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Photo by Michal Daniel

Annie Dorsen — who collaborated on creating the musical at Sundance and elsewhere — directs the world premiere which opens Oct. 25 for a run at Berkeley Rep's Thrust Stage through Dec. 3 before heading to New York for a January 2007 run.

Commissioned by Berkeley Rep and The Public Theater, this world premiere work features a book and lyrics by Stew (singer-songwriter of the band The Negro Problem) with music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald.

The new work will take audiences "from black, middle-class America to Amsterdam, Berlin, and beyond" in a "story of a young black bohemian who charts a course for 'the real' through sex, drugs, and rock and roll."

The cast of Passing Strange features De'adre Aziza, Daniel Breaker (Well, Fabulation), Eisa Davis, Colman Domingo (The People's Temple, Bright Ideas), Chad Goodridge (The Debate Over Courtney O'Connell, Home Free!)‚ Rebecca Jones (Fallen Angel, Caroline, or Change).

"When I first saw a workshop of this show at Sundance, I was immediately struck by the freshness of Stew's voice — the originality of his lyrics and the overall strength of his music," states Berkeley Rep artistic director Tony Taccone. "His intelligence shines through the piece, and his unique perspective lifts it beyond the formulaic approach of your average musical. Stew has the courage and the talent to say something original about growing up black in America, while also revealing to us the exotic life of a musician in Europe." The design team includes David Korins (scenic), Annie Smart (costume), Kevin Adams (lighting) and Jake Rodriguez (sound designer). The production stage manager is Cynthia Cahill.

The season at Berkeley Rep will continue with All Wear Bowlers (Nov. 24-Dec. 24), The Pillowman (Jan. 12-Feb. 25, 2007), To the Lighthouse (Feb. 23 March 25, 2007), The Blue Door (April 6-May 20, 2007) and Oliver Twist (May 11-June 24, 2007).

Tickets to Passing Strange at Berkeley Rep, 2025 Addison Street in Berkeley, CA are available by calling (510) 647-2949 or toll free at (888) 4-BRT-tix. For more information, visit www.berkeleyrep.org.