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August 29, 2015

Check out the trailer for Spike Lee's passionate Passing Strange

by Mike Moody, posted Aug 25th 2009 5:33PM
Having trouble staying awake today? This high-spirited trailer for Spike Lee's vibrant documentary/musical, Passing Strange, should help get you going.

We told you about Passing Strange back in May when PBS picked it up as part of its Great Performances series. Lee's doc is a filmed version of the theatrical stage production of the Tony nominated Broadway musical of the same name. It's about a young black man who travels to Europe in the 1970s to become an artist and live a bohemian lifestyle.

Lee filmed two Broadway performances of the musical and also shot footage without an audience for the doc. The show's music is by Mark Stewart, or Stew, an acclaimed rock singer/songwriter and leader of the band The Negro Problem. Judging by the trailer, this looks like a something fans of passionate musical performances, and of Lee's stylistic camerawork, won't want to miss.

Lee's an old pro at capturing great live performances on film; he found box office success with the comedy concert film The Original Kings of Comedy in 2000, and he filmed live segments for The Concert for New York City in 2001. Passing Strange won't air on PBS until 2010, but the film will be available on the Sundance Channel's video-on-demand service starting Aug. 26, and it's playing now at the IFC Center in New York.

[via Filmmaker]

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This is a terrific production with really fantastic music and great performances. I saw it when it was downtown at the Public before it moved to Broadway. It should have won Best Musical over "In the Heights," which only had lukewarm support from most critics but took home the award because Tony voters decided to go with their pocketbooks ("Heights" was a much bigger hit at the box office) instead of their consciences. But whatever. See "Passing Strange." I promise you won't regret it.

August 26 2009 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love that Lee's still kicking it and would love to see this explosive-looking play in a small, dark theatre with a group of friends. Can't to see it in one form or the other. Sundance, eh?

August 25 2009 at 10:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow. That actually looks good. I was a bit tentative, but I'd love to see it on Broadway, which I fear isn't quite as musically innovative anymore. What I like about Lee is although he hit his height in the 90s, after a couple failed mainstream films, instead of trying to re-capture the magic (I'm side-eying you, Woody Allen), he shifted to another medium such as documentaries. His style has definitely smoothed over juxtaposed alongside the overt experimentation of old -

August 25 2009 at 9:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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