The Oakfields College Faculty of Dance and Musical Theatre once again presents a South African musical premiere – this time in the form of daring production which tells the story of a frustrated youth on a quest to find “the real”, passing through the worlds of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’roll.
Passing Strange serves as the biography of singer-songwriter and performance artist who goes by the single name Stew. A long-time rock musician and performer, Stew sought to combine the energy of a rock show with the lively potential of a theatre setting. The soulful lyrics and soaring, heart-pounding music (composed by Stew and Heidi Rodewald) drifts through a number of musical genres, including gospel, ’60s Europop, ’70s punk, blues, jazz, and of course: guitar-driven rock.
Described by Charles Isherwood from the New York Times as a musical that “… introduces an exciting new voice to contemporary musical theatre”, Passing Strange is certainly a unique experience that breaks theatrical boundaries, crosses musical genres and defies generic categories.
The show was nominated for seven Tony Awards, winning the 2008 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, three Drama Desk Awards, as well as the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, amongst others.
Directing this South African premiere of Passing Strange is multiple, award-winning performer, director and producer Gina Shmukler who has worked with the Oakfields College dance and musical theatre students to present a truly outstanding production. Gina has garnered no less than ten theatre nominations and four awards across different genres and was the proud recipient of the Dr Sibongile Khumalo Creative Research Award in 2013.
Musical Director of Passing Strange is repertoire and ensemble lecturer Wessel Odendaal whose professional experience has garnered him both national and international acclaim being involved in productions across the world and having worked with West End and Broadway theatre stars including Lea Salonga, Eden Espinosa and Ria Jones.
Given the vast experience of the creative team as well as the hugely talented student cast, this South African premiere of Passing Strange is set to be yet another Oakfields College triumph, taking the audience on a journey across boundaries of place, identity and theatrical convention and ultimately bringing them home with a new understanding of personal and creative authenticity.
“Call it a rock concert with a story to tell …
Call it a sprawling work of performance art …
Call it whatever you want, really. I’ll just call it wonderful!”
– Charles Isherwood (THE NEW YORK TIMES)
Passing Strange will run at the Fringe at the Joburg Theatre from 17-26 November 2016, every night (excluding Mondays) at 20h00 with additional Saturday matinee performances at 15h00.
Tickets cost R80 per person. Students, scholars, pensioners and block bookings pay only R70 per person.
Online bookings can be made on the theatre website at www.joburgtheatre.co.za or call 0861 670 670