The Top Ten Musicals Captured Live on Stage

By Ben Rimalower
21 Sep 2013

5. Passing Strange

Passing Strange was a fascinating, affecting and completely unique experience live onstage, and as a musical preserved on video, it's another one on this list that benefits tremendously from the focus afforded by the camera. The show's story of young man’s search for identity in and out of the context of community, as quasi-autobiographically narrated by Stew and reenacted by Daniel Breaker, is even more meta in close-up; the self-referential humor and poppy, funky, trippy score (lyrics by Stew, music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald) is even more enjoyable, as are the performances — including that of de'Adre Aziza in a number of supporting roles. Big kudos to Spike Lee for recognizing the importance of the piece and bringing it so directly to a wider audience.