Theater preview: Passing Strange is a tale of self-discovery

Jackie Mantey, Columbus Alive

Despite its many Broadway accolades (it won four Tony and Drama Desk awards, including Best Book of a Musical and Outstanding Musical), "Passing Strange" is rarely performed because it's hard to cast and pull off, said Short North Stage's executive producer Rick Gore, what with a full rock band whose members also act.

The dramedy rock musical is about a young African-American artist's international travels to discover himself, his art and, eventually, the motivations of the people he left behind. Special for its meta-fictional storytelling, "Passing Strange" was one of the few works to be brought back to the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, where it was originally conceived, for further development. It was the first play that musician Mark Stewart (aka Stew) wrote, and it is full of Kunstlerroman vigor and honesty.

The Short North Stage's production represents the regional premiere of "Passing Strange," which will be performed on the theater's main stage. Your journey to a seat will cost $30.

Garden Theater

April 18-May 5

1187 N. High St., Short North