I saw this great new show Passing Strange last night. The title of the show, of course, reminded me of one of my pieces in “The Assassination of Barack Obama.” The idea of “passing” is so interesting to me and one that I know is still so sensitive in the Black community.
The show is about a young boy, appropriately called “Youth.” He has to travel the world (literally) to figure out who he is and what he most wants. It’s sort of a bio-show of performance artist/musician Stew, the show’s creator (who also stars in the show as the narrator). It’s not like any show I’ve ever seen on Broadway. I related to it on a lot of levels, the least of which is the idea of self-discovery. So much of who I am is a result of my ability to travel while in college/grad school. I’m actually going to Asia in less than a month, which has always been a dream of mine.
The show speaks to people in different ways – I spent a good deal of time talking with another friend who has seen the show too. He was the one who remembered the title of this post – for him, that was the central them of the show.
A rock ’n’ roll autobiography of an artist in search of himself, “Passing Strange” is bursting at the seams with melodic songs, and it features a handful of theatrical performances to treasure. It is undeniably playing on Broadway, after transferring from a summer run at the Public Theater downtown.
But please don’t call it a Broadway musical. You could scare away too many people who might actually enjoy it.
Call it a rock concert with a story to tell, trimmed with a lot of great jokes. Or call it a sprawling work of performance art, complete with angry rants and scary drag queens. Call it whatever you want, really. I’ll just call it wonderful, and a welcome anomaly on Broadway, which can use all the vigorous new artistic blood it can get.