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July 2008

Lee to direct theater musical for cable

July 6, 2008

Source: Variety

Spike Lee will film the Broadway tuner "Passing Strange."
Helmer will shoot three perfs -- two with auds and one without -- of the critically lauded but sales-challenged musical, according to online reports that surfaced over the holiday weekend.

The show's producers, who are said to be the backers of the video recording, would reportedly aim to air the edited result on a cable net.

A rep for the production confirmed only that the filming would take place, with further details to be confirmed at an announcement currently skedded for July 9.

Well-reviewed "Passing Strange," the semi-autobiographical rock tuner by musician Stew with music co-written with Heidi Rodewald, earned seven Tony noms and took home one for Stew's book.

Since beginning Rialto perfs in February the show has had difficulty attracting crowds, although the Tony win July 15 did boost weekly box office into the higher end of the $200,000 range for a couple of frames.

For the week ending July 29, sales slipped to about $245,000 and aud capacity was only slightly above 50%.

Plot of "Strange" centers on young black artist from L.A. who flees his middle-class upbringing and heads to Amsterdam and Berlin in an attempt to find himself. Show originated at Berkeley Rep in 2006 and played Off Broadway's Public Theater last year.

Rialto producers of "Strange" include the Shubert Org, Elizabeth Ireland McCann, the Public and Berkeley Rep.

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