Passing Strange to Close on Broadway July 20

News   Passing Strange to Close on Broadway July 20
Passing Strange – the Tony-nominated Broadway production that combines the electricity of a rock concert with the storytelling of musical theatre — will play its final performance at the Belasco Theatre July 20.
Stew and Daniel Breaker in Passing Strange
Stew and Daniel Breaker in Passing Strange Photo by Carol Rosegg

The new musical began Broadway previews Feb. 8 and opened at the Belasco Feb. 28. When it closes, the production will have played a total of 20 previews and 165 regular performances.

In a statement Gerald Schoenfeld of The Shubert Organization said, "We are extremely proud of Passing Strange and its many accomplishments on Broadway. That Spike Lee will film the show is a crowning achievement and represents a milestone in the American musical theatre. We appreciate the support of the show's many ardent fans that have helped keep it running."

Producer Elizabeth Ireland McCann added, "Passing Strange has been an unparalleled experience for me as a lifelong theatre lover. I cannot express how genuinely proud I am of the show, the brilliant creators, the fantastic cast, the band and every member of the Passing Strange family. We brought a show to Broadway and, at the very least, shook things up a bit."

Passing Strange features a Tony Award-winning book by Stew, lyrics by Stew and music by Stew and his longtime musical partner Heidi Rodewald of The Negro Problem.

The closing notice follows the July 9 announcement that Academy Award-nominated director Spike Lee would film the Broadway production live at the Belasco Theatre July 19. The musical's live original Broadway cast recording is currently available on the Ghostlight Records label. While the Broadway Booking Office is currently accepting inquiries for national tour interest for Passing Strange, an official announcement has not been made. However, Passing Strange co-creators Stew and Rodewald both previously stated that they were exploring the possibility of taking the musical on the road.

Passing Strange made its uptown transfer to Broadway following an engagement at Berkeley Rep and a lauded run at the Public Theatre in the summer of 2007. In addition to earning a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, Passing Strange won the Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Outstanding/Best Musical, garnered four Audelco Awards (including Best Musical Production of the Year) and found itself on the top ten lists of the New York Times and New York Magazine.

With the aid of director and collaborator Annie Dorsen, Passing Strange incorporates autobiographical 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.

The entire cast from the Public Theater staging of Passing Strange transferred to Broadway, including 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.

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.

During rehearsals for the Broadway run, Passing Strange star and creator Stew commented about the adventurous musical, offering, "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. 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."

Tickets are available by calling (212) 239-6200 or by visiting The Belasco Theatre is located at 111 West 44th Street in Manhattan.

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