The acclaimed new musical – which blends the excitement and immediacy of a rock concert with Broadway theatricality – features book and lyrics by Stew and music by Stew and his longtime musical partner Heidi Rodewald of The Negro Problem.
In anticipation of Passing Strange's cast recording, Stew said in a statement, "A live recording session of Passing Strange will be a wildly unique event. More than just a live show document or a studio recording, we are aiming for a freaky hybrid of the two. The audience will be in on the process, witnessing it. Heidi Rodewald and I have always tried to bring the spontaneity of live performance into our studio recordings. But now, through the magic of theatre, the studio is coming to the Belasco."
The cast and band will perform songs from the production without costumes or lighting from 2-5 PM on the stage of the Belasco Theatre.
Fans of the musical have the opportunity to attend the live recording session by visiting the musical's official interactive website, www.passingstrangeonbroadway.com, for instructions. Tickets will be available for $20 cash at the door, and all proceeds will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records president Kurt Deutsch and Bill Rosenfield serve as executive producers for the original cast recording, with Stew and Heidi Rodewald as the CD's producers. A June release is expected, just in time for the Tony Awards. Passing Strange's director and co-creator Annie Dorsen previously described the interactive nature of the musical to Playbill.com, by explaining, "We're very keen on bringing the audience with us. This is a show that gets created by the audience and the performers together – that could be one of the biggest boundaries we're crossing. We want the audience to be as creative as we are in making the night fantastic."
The musical – which opened on Broadway Feb. 28 following a critically lauded run at the Public Theater last summer – features the original Public cast, including Stew, de'Adre Aziza, Daniel Breaker, Eisa Davis, Colman Domingo, Chad Goodridge and Rebecca Naomi Jones.
Passing Strange co-author Rodewald heads an onstage band that features Stew as well as Jon Spurney, Christian Cassan and Christian Gibbs.
The semi-autobiographical musical incorporates 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.
"At the core, I think the theatre community is interested in words, in unique stories and language. And we have found that with our weird little rock songs, that they actually get them and appreciate them," Stew commented to Playbill.com prior to Passing Strange's Broadway bow. "We're trying to bring that spontaneity we thrive off in the rock 'n' roll world and hope that people get that and say, 'Oh yeah, that was like this tonight, and it's not gonna be like this tomorrow.' I hope they can feel that."
Passing Strange's Broadway venture is produced by the Shubert Organization, Inc., Elizabeth Ireland McCann and the Public Theater.
Tickets are available by calling (212) 239-6200 or by visiting www.TeleCharge.com. The Belasco Theatre is located at 111 West 44th Street in Manhattan.