Signature Theatre announces the cast and creative team for the musical Passing Strange, with music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald and book & lyrics by Stew. Passing Strange is directed by Raymond O. Caldwell (Producing Artistic Director of Theater Alliance, Theater Alliance’s Blood at the Root), with Music Direction by Marika Countouris (Signature’s The Color Purple, Woolly Mammoth’s A Strange Loop), Music Supervision by Mark G. Meadows (Signature’s The Color Purple, RENT) and Choreography by Tiffany Quinn (Olney Theatre Center’s The Diary of Anne Frank, Theater Alliance’s Blood at the Root). Performances run April 25 – June 18, 2023, in Signature’s ARK Theatre. Tickets are available at SigTheatre.org.
Music is the freight train to ride for this electrifying Tony Award-winning travelogue of identity, acceptance, and love. A young man discovers his musical calling and sets off for Europe, leaving behind his mother and comfortable suburban life. In his rebellion filled with sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, he yearns for something in life that he thinks can only be found in art. Bursting with energizing punk, blues, gospel, and jazz music, this rock concert spin on musical theatricality radiates with humor, passion, and heart.
“Signature is thrilled to reimagine this electrifying Tony-Award-winning rock musical for our audiences,” said Signature Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner. “Passing Strange is a Black coming-of-age story with an exhilarating score that looks to gospel, punk, blues, jazz, and rock music for inspiration. I am excited to welcome Raymond O. Caldwell to direct this production at Signature, and I look forward to seeing how he applies his singular vision to Passing Strange.”
“I’m humbled by the opportunity in this production to take audiences on a journey of self-discovery, self-actualization, and all while centering and celebrating Black art and culture,” said director Raymond O. Caldwell. “I can’t wait to remind audiences that rock music is Black music, and that the experiences of Black peoples are far from monolithic.”
The cast for Passing Strange includes Isaac “Deacon Izzy” Bell (Deacon Izzy and the Congregation, DuPont Brass) as Narrator, Imani Branch (Signature’s RENT, Theater Alliance’s Blood at the Root) as Sherry/Renata/Desi, Deimoni Brewington (Theater Alliance’s Blood at the Root, Constellation Theatre Company’s Once On This Island) as Youth, Alex De Bard (Signature’s Into the Woods, RENT) as Edwina/Marianna/Sudabey, Michael J. Mainwaring (Signature’s Jesus Christ Superstar, Mosaic Theater Company’s In His Hands) as Hugo/Christophe/Terry, Kara-Tameika Watkins (Signature’s Jesus Christ Superstar, Daphne’s Dive) as Mother, and Tobias A. Young (Signature’s The Color Purple, Olney Theatre Center’s In the Heights) as Mr. Franklin/Joop/Mr. Venus. Jordan Essex (Round House Theatre’s The Tempest), Kalen Robinson (Constellation Theatre’s Once On This Island), and Tyrell Stanley (Signature’s The Color Purple) are swings.
The creative team for Passing Strange includes Scenic Design by Jonathan Dahm Robertson (Round House Theatre’s Nollywood Dreams, Theater Alliance’s Blood at the Root), Costume Design by Danielle Preston (Lincoln Center’s Where Words Once Were, Mosaic Theater Company’s The Till Trilogy), Lighting Design by Alberto Segarra (Mosaic Theater Company’s The Till Trilogy, Olney Theatre Center’s The Joy that Carries You), Sound Design by Eric Norris (Signature’s Pacific Overtures, Into the Woods), and Video Design by Kelly Colburn (NYTW’s american (tele)visions, Round House Theatre’s Nollywood Dreams). Mandy Fox is the Dialect Coach, and Chelsea Pace is the Resident Intimacy Consultant and Choreographer. Casting is by Jorge Acevedo. New York Casting is by JZ Casting. John Keith Hall is the Production Stage Manager, Taylor Kiechlin is the Assistant Stage Manager, Siani Beckett is the Assistant Choreographer, and Alexander Greenberg is the Keyboard Programmer.
April 25 — June 18, 2023
Book & Lyrics by Stew
Music by Stew & Heidi Rodewald
Created in Collaboration with Annie Dorsen
Directed by Raymond O. Caldwell
Closed captions will be available for every show via the GalaPro app.
Pride Night, June 23, 2023
Post-show Discussions, May 9 and 31, 2023
Inside Signature, a discussion with Passing Strange director Raymond O. Caldwell, will take place Thursday, May 4 at 1 PM in Signature’s lobby. The discussion will also stream online. FREE, no RSVP required.
Signature has updated its policy regarding masking in performance spaces. Please visit SigTheatre.org/Safety for more details on current safety standards.
Tickets and information at SigTheatre.org or 703-820-9771.
Signature Theatre is a Tony Award-winning regional theater that broadens and brightens the region’s cultural landscape with its bold productions of challenging new and established works and engaging education and outreach programs. Founded in 1989 by Eric Schaeffer and Donna Migliaccio, and currently under the leadership of Managing Director Maggie Boland and Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner, musical theater is Signature’s “signature,” and the Theatre is renowned for its definitive Sondheim productions, inventive adaptations of overlooked or forgotten works, and investment in fresh new projects. Signature combines Broadway-caliber productions with intimate playing spaces and aims to be a leading force in U.S. musical theater.
Since its inception, the Theatre has produced 60 world premiere works — including 19 new musical commissions. Signature opens its doors to more than 100,000 people annually from the Washington, DC region and beyond and reaches more than 10,000 students every year through its innovative education programs, including the award-winning initiative Signature in the Schools. Signature has won 134 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, DC region’s professional theater and has been honored with 482 nominations.