Inspired by the art & life of James Baldwin, Stew explores Baldwin’s trailblazing legacy through songs co-written by longtime collaborator Heidi Rodewald, co-creator, along with Stew, of the Tony Award-winning musical Passing Strange. For TBA:17, the two will present a stripped down, intimate version of Notes of a Native Song, which places at the forefront Stew’s intensely personal & problematic relationship with Baldwin’s work. Stew’s uniquely incisive lyrics combine with rock, rhythm and blues, and jazz in this powerful homage to the inspiring writer, who famously confronted issues of gender, race, and class distinction.
Originally commissioned by Harlem Stage in New York City, Notes of a Native Song has been presented nationally in San Francisco (The Curran), Philadelphia (The WILMA / Fringe Live Arts), New Orleans (Contemporary Arts Center), Hudson, NY (Bard College) and Los Angeles (REDCAT) and internationally at in Abu Dhabi (NYU Arts Center). This Summer it will be presented in Toronto (Luminato Festival) and the UK (Latitude and Underbelly Festivals).
Notes of a Native Song was originally commissioned by Harlem Stage in New York City.