Great Performances: Season 38, Episode 7

Passing Strange (16 Jan. 2009)

TV Episode  -   -  Biography | Drama | Music
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 400 users   Metascore: 85/100
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A young black artist leaves his Los Angeles digs and travels to Europe to find himself. A theatrical stage production of the original Broadway musical.



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Title: Passing Strange (16 Jan 2009)

Passing Strange (16 Jan 2009) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Episode credited cast:
Edwina / Marianna / Sudabey
Mr.Franklin / Joop / Mr. Venus
Rev. Jones / Terry / Christophe / Hugo
Sherry / Renata / Desi
Mom - Understudy
Stew ...


A young black artist leaves his Los Angeles digs and travels to Europe to find himself. A theatrical stage production of the original Broadway musical.

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16 January 2009 (USA)  »

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The original Broadway production of "Passing Strange" opened at the Belasco Theater in New York on Feb. 28, 2008, ran for 165 performances and was nominated for the 2008 Tony Awards for the Best Musical and Score and won for the Best Book. Colman Domingo, De'Adre Aziza, Chad Goodridge, Stew and Daniel Breaker recreated their roles in this filmed production. Daniel Breaker and De'Adre Aziza received Tony Award nomination for acting as did Stew who had four nominations and one win (Best Book). See more »

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User Reviews

An Exquisite Piece Of Theater
30 January 2010 | by (Long Island, New York) – See all my reviews

I had the opportunity to see "Passing Strange" on Broadway twice. The second time was the night before the Tony Awards, when it was a co-favorite to win Best Musical. I have seen countless Broadway shows, but that night was one of my top 3 Broadway experiences ever. The cast and the audience were completely electric and I left the theater breathless.

This show is so open and honest about its emotions, the cast is amazingly versatile, with exceptional talent, and the music is quite memorable.

Also, when I least expected it, there was an emotional component that reduced me to tears, as it caused me to draw parallels to my own life. Great theater can do that.

I was disappointed at how the show segment came across on the Tony telecast, because the show was far better than what was shown that night, so I was thrilled when I heard that Spike Lee made a lasting record of this, to reach the audience it deserved.

My biggest fear was that it was going to be more documentary than a staging of the show.

So, naturally, I was overjoyed when I realized that the only documentary aspect of Passing Strange was the backstage snippets slipped in at the musical's intermission. It was an interesting addition to the experience.

Anyone who loves the stage and wants to see an amazing, original musical, should really check this out. It is one of those unexpected delights...not overly hyped...but thoroughly satisfying.

I must say I am mystified by the rating system on here. When I last checked it had a weighted rating of only 6.6. When one looks at the actual breakout of votes, this is almost incomprehensible. The vast majority give it a 10 (or 8 and 9). There was a much smaller amount that give it a 0 or 1, but if you average things out even a little, there is no way this is lower than an 8, by any measure. Unless one hates Broadway musicals it is a little obscene to give this film that low of a vote.

In the interest of disclosure, I work in media, and interviewed Daniel Breaker between the first and second time I saw "Passing Strange." But I have interviewed many performers and watched many Broadway shows. I had no stake in this show and was probably even more impressed by it, considering all the shows I have seen.

I cannot recommend "Passing Strange" more highly. It is unlike anything I have seen on Broadway and I would hope that Stew continues to create memorable, life-affirming experiences.

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