The Negro Problem: Stew, Heidi and friends come home to Joe’s Pub

Stew, Heidi Rodewald and The Negro Problem at Joe's Pub on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. (Photos copyright 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Stew, Heidi Rodewald and their current incarnation of The Negro Problem came home to NYC — to Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater — on Jan. 7.

What a homecoming it was.  The show was rocking and well-paced, with old favorites — many reimagined in one way or another — and newer material from last fall’s Brooklyn Omnibus, a show premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

“Ken,” the never-fails-to-get-laughs tune about Barbie’s boyfriend Ken secretly being gay, was done with a reggae feel to it. And they did “Willow Song” from their music for last summer’s Shakespeare on the Sound production of Othello. They also did a great rendition of Stew’s self-proclaimed best song ever, “Gary Come Home,” written for TV’s SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon show.

The current incarnation of The Negro Problem, Stew and Heidi’s first project together, is really just the pair of them backed by Joe McGinty‘s Loser’s Lounge crew plus awesome longtime guitarist Jon Spurney. (Spurney wasn’t in the earliest incarnations of The Negro Problem, but then again, neither was Heidi. Spurn was, however, involved from the beginning with the material that eventually became the acclaimed musical, Passing Strange.)

The place was packed. The show was great. And it seemed to go by in a flash.

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? was thrilled to be there. We’ll shut up now so you can look at the photos. (Video will come later!)

Stew in his Utilikilt with a new approach to hairstyling, and Heidi at Joe's Pub.

Stew was engaged, engaging and highly animated.

The Negro Problem.

Stew

Stew

Stew

Stew donned a ski mask for, you guessed it, "Black Men Ski."

Heidi was in fine form.

How many fingers, Stew?

You go, girl! Heidi was fesity, sniping at Stew, gently. We love her and urged her to do that more often!

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