There’s still time to grab tickets to see Stew, the Tony Award-winning creator of Broadway’s wildest ride , “Passing Strange,” in the cabaret setting of Manhattan’s 54 Below on Friday or Saturday night.
Stew’s work speaks for itself. He’s created a great deal of thoughtful, memorable, and provocative songs for theater, with “Passing Strange” and other shows, and for clubs as a solo performer and with his band, The Negro Problem.
He’s been a favorite of mine for 15 years. His “New Stew Review” promises a preview of upcoming shows, along with old favorites. If experience is amy guide, he’ll offer plenty of surprises.
A trip to 54 Below, in the cellar of Studio 54, 254 West 54th Street, Manhattan, can be a bit pricey. But Stew is worth it. Tickets for his shows, which start at 8 p.m., are $40-55, plus a $25 per person minimum. But use the code PUBLIC54 to get a reasonable discount.
Tickets and more information are available here.
Check out the video of Stew and cocreator Heidi Rodewald after the jump.
Heidi Rodewald and Stew, creators of Broadway’s Passing Strange, are presenting a Brooklyn house party in November to share their works in progress.
Creators of Passing Strange and collaborators in The Negro Problem join the inaugural season at BRIC House
BRIC (Brooklyn Information and Culture), the organization behind the great Celebrate Brooklyn! concert series, is opening the BRIC Arts | Media House to provide a permanent stage for new and established artists to explore their work.
BRIC House, at 647 Fulton Street, next door to the BAM Harvey Theater, formally opens Oct. 3. And it already has a great lineup scheduled, including two-nights of creative mashups from Tony and OBIE Award winner Stew and longtime collaborator and OBIE Award winner Heidi Rodewald.
They’re the people behind Broadway’s Passing Strange and the core members of the band The Negro Problem.
In two performances in November, the pair will unveil a show that includes pieces of several projects they have in development, including three musicals, a video-art work, two song-cycles and poems and songs that likely will show up on their next record in some form.
More information and ticket links after the jump. Continue reading
The hat was more crumpled than this at Barbès on July 25 and Stew’s energy level seemed higher than usual. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)
By the time his latest gig in his musical living room (aka Park Slope, Brooklyn, boîte Barbès) rolled around Thursday night, July 25, singer-songwriter and Tony Award winner Stew had dumped his original staged plan to play versions of his songs from Passing Strange and other numbers from his extensive repertoire.
Instead, he launched into a tight song cycle “inspired by recent events.” In other words, songs about George Zimmerman and the Trayvon Martin case. If yoy don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s time to get out from under that rock where you’ve been living and catch up on the news!
If you’re a Passing Strange fan who passed on the show for one reason or another and are thinking now that this make you feel OK about missing, hold that thought. I’m here to tell you differently. Continue reading
Posted in Concerts, Jazz, Music, Pop and Rock, RIP
Tagged BAM, Barbès, Brian Drye, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Drye & Drye, Heidi Rodewald, Howard Drye, Joanna Settle, Mike McGinnis, Park Slope, Passing Strange, sexy, Sexy Brooklyn Mommy, Stew, The Negro Problem
I saw the premiere
performance of the new Encores!
Off-Center reading of The Cradle Will Rock at New York
City Center on Wednesday night. I didn’t spend a lot of time
analyzing casting decisions or reading up on this production. I
knew Anika Noni Rose,
Raúl Esparza and Danny
Burstein were in key roles, but aside from that,
avoided reading about it. It was an effort to preserve an element of surprise. And
given that I’ve been spending som much time at Maxwell’s and other
rock events, there really wasn’t time. So what a pleasant
surprise when the curtain opened and there, front and
center, was Eisa Davis. It seemed
almost too perfect that an actor with a radical heritage (she’s a
niece of activist Angela
Davis, a relationship Eisa explored in her
play Angela’s Mixtape) performing in a show
about union-busting and based on the timeless us-versus-them theme.
(Many theatergoers were introduced to Eisa through the Tony
Award-winning musical Passing
Posted in Concerts, Music, Off-Broadway, Theater
Tagged Aidam Gemme, Angela Davis, Anika Noni Rose, Chris Fenwick, Cradle Will Rock, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Danny Burstein, Davie Margulies, Eisa Davis, Encores!, Encores! Off-Center, Henry Stran, JudyKuhn, Kurt Weill, Marc Blitzstein, Martin Moran, Matthew Saldivar, Michael Park, New York City Center, Passing Strange, Peter Friedman, Raúl Esparza, Robert Petkoff, Sam Gold, The Cradle Will Rock, Tim Robbins, Works Progress Administration, WPA
UPDATE: Stew Sez Showtime’s now 9:30 p.m.
Photo from Stew’s Facebook announcement of the upcoming gig at Barbès.
There was a moment or two of confusion Thursday morning when Stew,the singer-songwriter and Tony winner for the book of Passing Strange posted on Facebook that he and his band, The Negro Problem, would be appearing two weeks from now at “our beloved Barbès” and included the date of Oct. 25.
Stew, Heidi and an incarnation of The Negro Problem at Barbés in 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)
Well, fans of Stew’s work won’t have to wait that long. Maybe Stew is just jonesing for Fall. But according to the Barbès calendar, it’s Thursday, July 25, at 10 p.m., which is in two weeks.
Whew. Glad I could clear that up.
Stew posted a Facebook update on Friday, July 19, saying showtime was changed to 9:30. So I’m getting there by 9 just to be on the safe side:
showtime for stew & the negro problem’s BARBES show this THURSDAY JULY 25th is now 9:30. We will play some songs inspired by recent events.
Posted in Broadway, Concerts, Music, Pop and Rock, Theater
Tagged Barbès, Broadway, Brooklyn, Heidi Rodewald, Joanna Settle, Martha's Vineyard, Park Slope, Passing Strange, Stew & The Negro Problem, The Public Theater, The Total Bent, Tony Award, Vineyard Arts Project
Blizzard? Who cares, when there’s a chance to see Stew, Heidi and the gang in an intimate Brooklyn boîte
Stew and Heidi Rodewald perform with a version of their band, The Negro Problem, at Barbès in Park Slope, Brooklyn in March 2011. And yes, that’s Joe McGinty in the foreground. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)
If the predicted nightmare blizzard doesn’t bring New York City to a screeching halt on Friday, you should be at Barbès in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood to catch a surprisingly un-publicized gig by Stew & The Negro Problem.
(Click through to the jump for all the details.) Continue reading
Posted in Broadway, Music, News, Off-Broadway, Pop and Rock, Theater
Tagged Amsterdam, Barbès, Berlin, Brooklyn, Chris Rael, Church of Betty, Heidi Rodewald, Joe McGinty, Los Angeles, Loser's Lounge, Mike McGinnis, Park Slope, Passing Strange, Stew, Stew & The Negro Problem, The Chez Ocean Corrective, The Four Bags, The Negro Problem, TNP, Tony Award
Daniel Breaker and his crew at Joe's Pub. (Photos 2012, Steven P. Marsh)
Broadway star spices up his elegant cabaret set with help from fab up-and-comer Jo Lampert and Broadway vet Morgan James
The inimitable Daniel Breaker at Joe's Pub.
We’re hoping Daniel Breaker is going to be a regular on the Joe’s Pub stage. His performance there Sunday night, April 22 — his second cabaret show there — showcase the winning singer/actor even better than the first. He seemed more comfortable in his role as a front man, and less like an actor putting on a show.
Jo Lampert kills it at Joe's Pub, with drummer Christian Cassan in the background.
With the help of a dozen or so musical compatriots — including drummer Christian Cassan and music director/guitarist Jon Spurney from his time in the hit musical “Passing Strange” — Breaker put on a great show.
He sang original and classic cabaret numbers, and even dipped into rock with Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” charming the crowd all evening.
Breaker’s special guest vocalists once again gave him a run for his money. In Breaker’s last show at Joe’s, guest Condola Rashad threatened to steal the spotlight altogether with her amazing power and charming stage persona.
Breaker clearly didn’t feel threatened. He chose equally intense guests for this show. Jo Lampert, who not long ago was a production assistant at Joe’s Pub and who was involved in the Public Theater’s incarnation of “Passing Strange,” blew the doors off with her rendition of Beyonce‘s “Halo,” and also filled in superbly on backing vocals.
Morgan James, currently in the cast of "Godspell" on Broadway, at Joe's Pub.
Morgan James, who’s in the ensemble with “Godspell” on Broadway, also did a great job.
Kelvin Dinkins Jr. and William Jackson Harper (a must-see in our book after his amazing work “The Total Bent” at the Public Theater) helped out on backing vocals.
Posted in Blues, Concerts, Jazz, Music, Pop and Rock, Review, Theater
Tagged Broadway, Christian Cassan, Daniel Breaker, Godspell, Jo Lampert, Joe's Pub, Jon Spurney, Kelvin Dinkins Jr., Morgan James, Nirvana, Passing Strange, The Total Bent, William Jackson Harper
Stew, Heidi and members of The Loser's Lounge at Barbés in Park Slope, Brooklyn. (Photos © Steven P. Marsh)
Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? was supposed to see The Total Bent, the new show by Stew and Heidi Rodewald of Passing Strange fame, in one of its very first Public Lab performances at The Public Theater in downtown Manhattan last month. But then construction delays at the theater — the Public is undergoing a massive, and much-needed, facelift — got in the way.
That created some pretty massive chaos, forcing The Total Bent‘s schedule to push back. Some shows, including ours, were canceled and rebooked.
So we haven’t seen the show yet. We’ll be there for the penultimate performance on Sunday afternoon, March 18.
All the changes also forced the scuttling of interviews and press access to the creative team.
Posted in Music, News, Theater
Tagged Anspacher Theater, Broadway & Me, Heidi Rodewald, Joanna Settle, Passing Strange, Stew, The Public Theater, The Total Bent, tickets
The Englert Theatre, one of the University of Iowa's performing arts venues in Iowa City. (Photo courtesy Jacob Yarrow, Unversity of Iowa)
Weather scuttles Stew & The Negro Problem’s Iowa Omnibus show — for now
What does Mother Nature have against Iowa City, Ia.?
Stew at Joe's Pub on Jan. 23, 2012. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)
In 2008, the Iowa River overran its banks and devastated the city, destroying much property in the city, including the notable Max Abramovitz-designed Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.
The flood-ravaged Hancher Auditorium, designed by Max Abramovitz, the architect of Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.
The latest natural disaster didn’t cause physical damage that we know of, but the psychic damage is certainly huge. A “freak fog” closed the local airport and kept Stew and Heidi Rodewald and their band, The Negro Problem, from making it to Iowa City in time for their Feb. 2 gig.
As we reported the other day, Stew & The Negro Problem were to present Iowa Omnibus as the centerpiece of a Feb. 2 show at the Englert Theatre, a civic auditorium that is housing some of UI’s performing arts productions. It was commissioned by UI’s Hancher Auditorium, the campus performing arts presenter, inspired by Stew and Heidi’s 2010 Brooklyn Omnibus shows, as well as their hit musical, Passing Strange.
Posted in Concerts, Music, News, Pop and Rock, Theater
Tagged Avery Fisher Hall, Brooklyn OMNIBUS, Cedar Rapids, Eastern Iowa Airport, Englert Theatre, Hancher Auditoriuum, Heidi Rodewald, Iowa City, Iowa City Omnibus, Joe's Pub, Making It, Max Abramovitz, Passing Strange, St. Ann's Warehouse, Stew, Stew & The Negro Problem, Strange Freak, The Negro Problem
Stew & Heidi Rodewald at Joe's Pub in New York City. (Photos © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)
Remember Stew & Heidi Rodewald of The Negro Problem‘s theatrical show, Brooklyn Omnibus at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2010? It made a lot of sense. Both of these creative people had spent time living in the County of Kings and knew it pretty well. And the songs reflected their experiences there.
Jacob Yarrow (Photo by Tom Jorgensen)
It was a bit of a surprise when Stew, in the middle of a Jan. 23 CD-release show at Joe’s Pub in Manhattan, asked the audience: “Remember Brooklyn Omnibus? We’re doing an Iowa City Omnibus.”
The Englert Theater, one of the University of Iowa's performing arts venues in Iowa City. (Photo courtesy Jacob Yarrow, Unversity of Iowa)
Thanks to the magic of Twitter, we quickly found out who was behind this Iowa City venture, and took some time to get the lowdown for you.
It turns out that Jacob Yarrow, programming director of the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City, saw the Spike Lee film version of Stew and Heidi’s Broadway show, Passing Strange. That was enough to give him a real hankering to bring some of Stew and Heidi’s music in the Midwest, tailored to the flood-ravaged city. So he got in touch and commissioned the duo to do an Omnibus for them.
It takes the stage on Thursday, Feb. 2. As of last week, Yarrow hadn’t heard a note of Stew and Heidi’s work, but was looking forward to hearing it. As he explains after the jump, the Iowa City commission pretty much gave the duo free rein.
My guess is that Iowa City and the University of Iowa will never be quite the same again after Stew and Heidi’s visit.
Posted in Concerts, Music, Pop and Rock, Theater
Tagged Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn OMNIBUS, Hancher Auditoriuum, Heidi Rodewald, Iowa City, Iowa Omnibus, Jacob Yarrow, Passing Strange, Spike Lee, Stew, Stew & The Negro Problem, The Negro Problem, University of Iowa