Passing Strange: The Movie (DVD) Spike Lee - Plus Bonus Material
Just released DVD of the film directed by Oscar nominee Spike Lee, who captured the essence of Passing Strange, an exuberant reproduction of the avant-garde rock concert/book musical hybrid that shook up Broadway in 2008, earning seven Tony nominations and winning the Drama Desk’s Outstanding Musical award. Lee filmed the show's final three Broadway performances in front of live audiences. Bonus material includes director Lee's backstage footage from the Broadway production.
The show premiered at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California in 2006, had an acclaimed Off Broadway run at the Public Theater in 2007, then raised the roof at the Belasco on 44th Street for five electrifying months. Spike Lee and his cameras, wielded by Matthew Libatique of Inside Man, Iron Man films and Requiem for a Dream were there for its final July weekend. The story is about its creator, the musician Stew, who serves as narrator. The excellent Daniel Breaker (who went on to play Donkey in Shrek the Musical) is cast as the dissatisfied Youth, who, tired of the middle-class, church-on-Sundays mores of South Central LA in the relatively secure late 70s, bolts to find “the real.” His split from his cautious, nurturing Mother (Eisa Davis) takes him first to trippy Amsterdam, a smorgasbord of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and then to the more politicized Berlin, where he confronts hard questions about race, ethics, and authenticity.
Lee has flirted with directing a Broadway show and his smooth translation of this one, not just a movie of a show, but a great film in its own right.