American Black Journal – Small Business Workshop, Passing Strange musical, De’Sean Jones & Urban Art Orchestra

Detroit Public Theatre ends 8th season with Passing Strange, a rock musical with a powerful message

Detroit Public Theatre is closing out its first season in its new theater space with “Passing Strange,” the 2008 Tony Award-winning rock musical with a powerful message.   

Passing Strange tells the story of a young Black musician on a coming-of-age journey to find himself, his artistic voice, and his sense of what it means to be Black in both the world of art and the world at large. His journey takes him from LA to Amsterdam to Berlin, as he explores different styles of music and schools of philosophy and spirituality, trying to find what he calls “The Real.”   

The musical has been on Detroit Public Theatre’s radar since it began eight seasons ago, according to Detroit Public Theatre Producing Artistic Director Courtney Burkett. The original production was written by Stew and Heidi Rodewald. John Sloan III directed the Detroit Public Theatre production.  

One Detroit editor Chris Jordan attended the theatre’s performance of “Passing Strange” and spoke with Sloan III, actress Lulu Fall, and Burkett after about the show’s legacy, what makes it unique among rock musicals, how art and media can be used as vehicles for cultural conversations, and the creative process behind bringing the Broadway production to the local stage. 

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