Complete Cast Announced for Signature's Passing Strange | Playbill

Regional News Complete Cast Announced for Signature's Passing Strange

The Stew and Heidi Rodewald musical will begin performances at the Virginia venue in April.

Heidi Rodewald and Stew

Casting has been announced for the Signature Theatre's upcoming production of the 2008 Broadway musical Passing Strange, which will be presented April 25–June 18 in Signature’s ARK Theatre in Arlington, Virginia.

Directed by Raymond O. Caldwell with music direction by Marika Countouris, music supervision by Mark G. Meadows, and choreography by Tiffany Quinn, the cast will include includes Isaac “Deacon Izzy” Bell as Narrator, Imani Branch as Sherry/Renata/Desi, Deimoni Brewington as Youth, Alex De Bard as Edwina/Marianna/Sudabey, Michael J. Mainwaring as Hugo/Christophe/Terry, Kara-Tameika Watkins as Mother, and Tobias A. Young as Mr. Franklin/Joop/Mr. Venus. Jordan Essex, Kalen Robinson, and Tyrell Stanley are swings.

Featuring music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald and a book and lyrics by Stew, the musical follows a young man, who discovers his musical calling and sets off for Europe, leaving behind his mother and suburban life. In a rebellion filled with sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, he yearns for something in life that he thinks can only be found in art.

“Signature is thrilled to reimagine this electrifying Tony-Award winning rock musical for our audiences,” says 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,” adds director 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."

Passing Strange was nominated for seven 2008 Tony Awards, winning for Best Book of Musical for Stew. 

The Signature production will also have scenic design by Jonathan Dahm Robertson, costume design by Danielle Preston, lighting design by Alberto Segarra, sound design by Eric Norris, video design by Kelly Colburn, dialect coaching by Mandy Fox, and resident intimacy consulting and choreographing by Chelsea Pace. Casting is by Jorge Acevedo with New York casting 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.

Tickets are available at

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