book and lyrics by Stew, music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald | produced by Bailiwick Chicago | directed by Lili-Anne Brown | music direction by Jimmy Morehead | featuring JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound | opens April 21
A Note from Director Lili-Anne Brown
“Why haven’t I heard of this show??”
This is the question I am most often asked when people get wind of Passing Strange. All it takes is for someone to hear a song or see a clip on YouTube, or watch the documentary film of the Broadway production on Netflix (because Spike Lee loved it so much he just had to film it). I thought the same thing when I was first introduced to the show. I was blown away. I thought, “We have got to have a production of this show in Chicago! And I know just the folks I want to do it with.” Because you see, one of the reasons that this Tony-winning show isn’t popping up in every regional theater in the country is because it is a rock show. A rock show written by a black artist and told from his distinct experience. Awesome, right? Well, maybe a challenge if you don’t know any black guys with a rock band. But I did know a guy. I know the guy from the clip above, Jayson Brooks, of JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound. I knew we could do an awesome rock show that just happened to also be great theatre.
Passing Strange tells the story of a young black man from Los Angeles, rebelling against a loving, church-going family and breaking out on his own in the late 70s/early 80s, to follow the call of art and search for “the real” in Amsterdam and Berlin. It’s a universal coming-of-age tale that also explores the limits of cultural identity and artistic integrity. The New York Times said: “[Passing Strange] is far richer in wit, feeling and sheer personality than most of what is classified as musical theater these days...Call it a rock concert with a story to tell, trimmed with a lot of great jokes...I'll just call it wonderful.” Besides the band, we've gathered six wonderful Chicago actors and a fantastic design team and staff to help bring the story to life.
Now we need your help to get us through the final stages of production. Every penny you donate will go directly to the costs necessary to making this production successful. Unfortunately, if our goal isn't met before the deadline, we don't get a penny, which means we really need you! You can donate as little as $1 to as much as you are capable of. No matter what you give, you’ll immediately become a member of the Bailiwick Chicago Society, with lots of benefits included. Every little bit counts, and we truly need your help to make this amazing production come to life.
Thank you in advance for your support! Help us spread the word!
For more information on Bailiwick Chicago: our website
For information about the show: Passing Strange
Bailiwick Chicago is a 501(3)c organization. Your donation will be tax deductible (subject to the usual limitations on charitable contribution deductions under federal tax law).
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