Passing Strange: The Movie

by Brenton Crozier
Atypical Arts has worked to bring the type of performances and events that wouldn’t otherwise appear in Jacksonville. Although Passing Strange: The Movie is a Spike Lee film, you likely won’t be able to find it playing in our city’s numerous multi-plex theaters. The movie captures the last three performances of the widely celebrated rock musical centered around a young black musician on a journey to find “the real.” The production counts a Tony among its many accolades and awards.
Passing Strange was written by singer-songwriter and performance artist Stew, part of the group the Negro Problem. The story is wide reaching, both geographically and thematically, taking viewers from black, middle-class America to Amsterdam and Berlin all charting a course of self and artistic discover through the lens of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll.
The movie, which will be shown at 5 Points Theatre, will be followed by a discussion with Bill Bragin, Director of Public Programming at Lincoln Center, and a critical part of the original development of Passing Strange the Musical. The New York Times featured Bragin and called him “one of the most influential figures in the New York live-music business.”
The musical has an incredible local tie, as the starring role was performed by Daniel Breaker, a graduate of Douglas Anderson High School. Daniel was nominated for a Tony for his performance and then went on to be a featured member of the extremely successful Broadway production, Shrek the Musical.
Spike Lee wanted to make a permanent record of the show “for generations and generations to see,” and filmed the last three performances. Tickets, which include the movie and discussion with Bill Bragin, are only $15 ($10 for students) and can be purchased at or at the theater box office.
You often hear people saying that one of the issues they have with Jacksonville is the lack of culture. While I don’t agree with the sentiment, I do know that if we want to continue to grow culturally, we need to embrace events and opportunities like these. Be sure to get your tickets while they’re still available to Passing Strange: The Movie. –