Date Announced For Spike Lee 'Passing Strange' Filming!
Spike Lee -- the director of such memorable films as "Inside Man," the upcoming "Miracle at St. Anna," (release 9/26/08), "Do The Right Thing," "Malcolm X," and "She's Gotta Have It," -- will direct a film of the award-winning Broadway musical PASSING STRANGE, it has been announced by Steve Klein, who is a co-producer of PASSING STRANGE on Broadway and will produce the film with Mr. Lee.
The film of PASSING STRANGE will be shot during two performances in front of a live audience on Saturday, July 19 at the Belasco Theatre (111 W. 44 St.) (Thereafter, the musical will be filmed two additional times without an audience.)
Mr. Lee has been a fan of PASSING STRANGE since he first saw the musical during its Off-Broadway engagement at The Public Theater last year, and has attended the show on a number of occasions since the musical moved to Broadway in February.
According to Mr. Klein, he and Mr. Lee are keeping their options open for distribution, and are considering whether to debut the film on a premium cable station, such as HBO or Showtime, or as a theatrical release.
Mr. Klein adds, "Conventional wisdom suggests that filmed theatrical events should avoid being released in movie theaters, however, PASSING STRANGE may be an exception -- with its rock concert energy, compelling performances, multi-colored light wall in lieu of a traditional set, and Spike Lee behind the camera. The film of PASSING STRANGE will have more than enough visual dynamics to play in theaters if we decide to go in that direction."
With book and lyrics by Stew, music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, PASSING STRANGE on Broadway is directed and created in collaboration with Annie Dorsen. The cast features Tony nominee De'Adre Aziza, Tony nominee Daniel Breaker, Eisa Davis, Colman Domingo, Chad Goodridge, Rebecca Naomi Jones and Stew, himself, as well as the band of musicians who join the cast on stage -- Heidi Rodewald, Jon Spurney, Chrisian Cassan, Christian Gibbs and again, Stew. Karole Armitage is choreographer.
PASSING STRANGE -- which opened at the Belasco on February 28 -- has been one of the most critically-acclaimed, buzzed-about musicals on Broadway in recent memory. The musical received the Best Musical prizes from the New York Drama Critics' Circle, the Drama Desk and Village Voice Obies. Stew received the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical last month.
PASSING STRANGE is the story of a restless young black musician who leaves his middle-class upbringing in L.A. and embarks on a journey of escape and exploration, only to discover that the voyage within is what matters most.
While Steve Klein is not a movie producer by trade, he felt compelled to capture PASSING STRANGE on film. He approached his business partners at his investment firm Apple Core Holdings -- Ken Grief, Larry Horn and Will Kohane -- all of whom decided to join Mr. Klein in financing the film as Executive Producers. 40 Acres and a Mule is the Production Company for the shoot with Butch Robinson line producing and David Miller and Janet Pailet are Associate Producers.
PASSING STRANGE is produced on Broadway by The Shubert Organization, Elizabeth Ireland McCann LLC, Bill Kenwright, Chase Mishkin, Terry Allen Kramer, Barbara & Buddy Freitag, Broadway Across America, Emily Fisher Landau, Peter May, Boyett Ostar, Larry Hirschhorn, Janet Pallet/Steve Klein, Elie Herschfeld/Jed Bernstein, Spring Sirkin/Ruth Hendel, Vasi Lawrence/Pat Flicker Addiss, Wendy Federma/Jacki Barlia Florin, Joey Parnes, Executive Director, in association with The Public Theater and The Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
In addition to Spike Lee and thousands of other theater goers who have been surprised, entertained, moved, challenged by PASSING STRANGE, the musical has attracted a vast array of key figures to the Belasco Theatre: Toni Morrison (thrice!), Angela Davis (thrice!), Denzel Washington, Diana Ross, Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Edward Albee, Bette Midler, Julie Harris, Barbara Walters, Harry Belafonte, Terrence McNally, Audra McDonald, Marian Seldes (thrice!), Rosie O'Donnell, Melvin and Mario Van Peebles, Dr. Cornell West, James Lipton and many more.
Seats to the July 19 performances that will be filmed are on sale now. For performance and ticket information to PASSING STRANGE at the Belasco call Telecharge at 212 239 6200 or visit www.telecharge.com. Also visit www.passingstrangeonbroadway.com
Walter McBride/ Retna Ltd.
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