Great Performances: Season 38, Episode 7

Passing Strange (16 Jan. 2009)

TV Episode  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 411 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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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.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



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Release Date:

16 January 2009 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


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

refreshing, exhilarating and very special
22 March 2010 | by (Poland) – See all my reviews

Thanks to Spike Lee, we are finally able to experience one of the very best musicals of the last few years on screen and what a helluva of experience this is. Tony-winning Passing Strange is not your ordinary rock musical as it uses a wide variety of music styles exploring such genres as soulful blues, energetic punk rock, brutal new wave, gospel and cabaret. The force behind this spectacle is Stew, the musician who wrote and co-arranged the whole performance. He is also the narrator displaying his impressive skills especially in singing. Overall, what an amazing guy he is! His partly autobiographical story is universally relatable depicting a young man's struggle for artistic fulfillment. As the main character travels to Europe, Stew spices it with brilliant cultural satire deeply ingrained in history. He steers clear of being oversentimental and often provides us with auto-irony, which is crucial when you want to make people laugh. He even goes as far as to comment on his role as an artist/creator and nails it perfectly building to an ecstatic finale filled with uncontrolled joy. Besides, Passing Strange features superb performances from every single member of the extremely talented cast. Some of them had a difficult task channeling many characters like Colman Domingo, particularly incredible as controversial musician Mr. Venus. I couldn't resist the charms of De'Adre Aziza and Rebecca Jones who appeared to be extremely versatile actresses as well as fabulous singers. Daniel Breaker in a leading role also delivered top-notch performance encompassing the whole range of emotions. Spike Lee's cutting is fast, dynamic and hyper-kinetic to the point that the filmed performance resembles an actual movie. The camera is always in the right place frequently showing sweat on the faces of ideally synchronized performers. To conclude, Passing Strange ranks among the most unforgettable movies I've ever seen. It's refreshing, exhilarating and very special for me.

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