Passing Strange is a musical hosted by the U of M Department of Musical Theatre, with music direction by Jason DeBord. The Department of Musical Theatre describes it as: “A bitingly funny and outrageous rock ‘n’ roll musical about a young African-American man’s artistic journey through Europe.” It is a philosophical piece that explores themes like existentialism, metafiction, and an artist’s growth to maturity.
Throughout the musical, the main character grapples with topics like race, socioeconomic status, and identity. He utilizes music to express himself and rebel against his family and societal expectations. “Passing” perhaps alludes to the concept of ‘passing as white,’ the passage of time, and/or how the main character “passes” through different places and relationships.
Although the music score for the musical is mostly rock, it also contains elements of jazz, blues, punk, and gospel. It sounds like there’s thematic overlap between Passing Strange and the the movie A Star a Born. So if you enjoyed the movie, you may enjoy this musical as well.
Location: Walgreen Drama Center – Arthur Miller Theatre
General admission $30/ $12 with student ID
Purchase online or at the Michigan League Ticket Office