"Cosmic Kansas to L.A.": Will Passing Strange Tour?

News   "Cosmic Kansas to L.A.": Will Passing Strange Tour?
The new Broadway musical Passing Strange – whose characters journey from Los Angeles to Amsterdam and Berlin – may venture out onto the open roads of the U.S. in a national tour.
Passing Strange creator Stew.
Passing Strange creator Stew. Photo by Michal Daniel

The rock musical that blends a theatrical aesthetic with the energy of a rock concert recently earned seven Tony Award nominations (including Best Musical) and picked up the Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Outstanding/Best Musical.

With so much industry buzz, it comes as no surprise that Passing Strange is eyeing a future in the touring markets. The Broadway Booking Office – a company responsible for presenting, booking and marketing of theatrical productions – lists Passing Strange among its represented productions.

While the listing is not an official announcement of a tour, Broadway Booking Office representatives said that Passing Strange's producers are actively seeking tour bookings.

Passing Strange creator Stew and his long-time musical collaborator and fellow Tony nominee Heidi Rodewald both expressed interest in returning to the road with the critically acclaimed production. "Yeah, there's a lot of talk about that," Stew said at a recent Tony press event. "I don't know how it all works out because I'm new to this world and I don't know how touring in a Broadway show works."

The semi-autobiographical musical would be difficult to imagine without Stew's involvement. "I don't know what that means for me or other cast members," Stew continued. "I will say that I personally spent a lot of my life touring, and I would love to take this play to anywhere and everywhere. That would be a dream. I don't know how it will all work contractually, but personally, I would love to do Passing Strange in all kinds of places. I would love it." Rodewald, who earned Tony nominations for Best Orchestrations and Best Original Score with Stew, also stated, "We would love to be touring. You know, Stew and I, that's what we've done. I'm very comfortable with being on the road, and I think with everything, all of us together, we're a big family and us doing that together is great. We talk about that."

Passing Strange features book and lyrics by Stew and music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald of The Negro Problem. 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.

Directed by Annie Dorsen, Passing Strange features choreography by Karole Armitage, scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Elizabeth Hope Clancy and lighting design by Kevin Adams.

Passing Strange's Broadway venture is produced by the Shubert Organization, Inc., Elizabeth Ireland McCann, the Public Theater and Berkeley Rep.

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.

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