The story is just as personal as Passing Strange's journey through Stew's distant past: Stew and Rodewald's break up. Called Making It, the multimedia concert runs Feb. 17-22 at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn.
St. Ann’s Warehouse, which commissioned the piece, describes it as “a rock show collage of song, text and video. The show traces the unlikely careers of Stew and Heidi from the dive rock clubs of Hollywood to the footlights of Broadway.”
Stew and Heidi make no secret of their romantic history. According to a recent profile in New York Magazine, the two met in Los Angeles in the 1990s. They played music together; they made some records; they worked on a cabaret about Stew’s childhood in L.A. and turbulent twenties spent in Europe. They performed that show, originally called Travelogue, around the country. The Public Theatre then commissioned them to turn it into a theatre piece, and they renamed it Passing Strange. That piece eventually made it to Broadway. Somewhere along the way, the strain of success was too much, however, and their relationship dissolved before opening night.
About a year after the final curtain fell on Passing Strange, Stew started writing break-up songs. He approached Heidi about collaborating. She was skeptical about the intensely personal project, but he convinced her. “We’ll switch off. You’ll sing about bad things you did, and I’ll sing bad things about what I do,” he told New York Magazine. “No one will know who did what.” The result is Making It.
The two have been busy since Passing Strange closed in July 2008. They have written a screenplay. A musical, Punk Princess, was workshopped at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2009. In January, Spike Lee’s documentary film of Passing Strange aired on PBS as part of the station’s Great Performances series.
For information on the performances at St. Ann’s Warehouse, visit the company website By Clicking Here.
— Gemma Wilson