Sunday Arts Magazine

13 Jun 2022

Passing Strange

Arts, Performing Arts, Theatre

Passing Strange

Passing Strange
Book and Lyrics by Stew
Music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald
Created in collaboration with Annie Dorsen
By Arrangement with Music Theatre International
(Australasia) on behalf of Dramatists Play Service, Inc.
24 June to 10 July, 2022
Meat Market Stables – 2 Wreckyn St, North Melbourne

Following on from the acclaimed first production in their 2022 Season, And She Would Stand Like This, Antipodes
Theatre Company now bring Melbourne audiences another electric Australian premiere; Passing Strange.
An autobiographical rock musical from singer-songwriter and performance artist Stew, Passing Strange is the tale
of a young African American’s artistic journey of self-discovery. Transporting audiences from Black middle-class

America to Amsterdam, Berlin and beyond, this powerful production hailed as “One of the most exciting new mu-
sicals in years” by Time Out New York is a dynamic and poignant journey of personal and artistic authenticity.

Nominated for seven Tony Awards and winning for Best Book, Passing Strange isn’t just the story of a young bo-
hemian charting a course through sex, drugs and rock and roll – it’s a compelling and pertinent comment on be-
longing and identity, complete with inspiring lyrics and the heady intensity of youth.

Othello, while speaking of wooing his wife Desdemona, says, “She gave me for my pains a world of sighs / She
swore, in faith, ’twas strange, ’twas passing strange.” With a title that has its roots in Shakespeare’s Othello – a
play in which a black man navigates a white world – Passing Strange is not your standard “musical theatre” fare.
“This is such a unique and beautifully constructed piece, one that is truly unlike anything else,” explains Antipodes
Artistic Director Brandon Pape.
“I originally saw it on Broadway and was blown away by its potency. The songs contain some of the most witty,
poetic, and profound lyrics I’ve ever encountered. Each person who sees it will likely walk away with a different
moment or character or song that resonates with them. We’re transforming the space at Meat Market Stables
into our very own rock concert experience. The band will be on stage, and several songs will attempt to blow the
roof off. It’s going to be a blast.”

“It truly is a genre-breaking piece of theatre in a league of its own,” adds Director Dean Drieberg, currently Resi-
dent Director of Hamilton Australia. A multiple Green Room Award-nominee, Drieberg has worked on over 20

national tours playing at over 50 venues around Australia and New Zealand. He has directed productions of Sun-
day In The Park With George, Bare and Memphis the Musical, and is an exciting addition to the production.


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