Notes of a Native Song
Stew and Heidi Rodewald
Thursday, September 8
$15 – $35
The Wilma TheaterMap
“A celebration of Baldwin’s legacy as an inspiration for artists to create their own work that, like his, defies genres and expectations.” Charles Isherwood, The New York Times
Inspired by the art of writer and activist James Baldwin, Stew and Heidi Rodewald (creators of the Tony Award winning musical Passing Strange) explore Baldwin’s trailblazing legacy. A rollicking “concert novel,” Notes of a Native Song is a high-energy blast of music, video, and spoken word that captures the essence of the man who spoke out about uncomfortable truths. As Stew and his musically formidable band draw the audience in, the show confronts the more complicated aspects of Baldwin’s life and ideas, even as it celebrates his lasting impact.
Text by Stew Composed by Stew and Heidi Rodewald Performed by Stew (guitar, vocals), Heidi Rodewald (bass, Moog), Mike McGinnis (woodwinds) Art Terry (piano) Marty Beller (drums)
$35 general / $24.50 member
$15 student + 25-and-underGet Tickets
Festival Executive Producers
Tom and Carol Beam
Andy and Audry Carter
Herbert and Sissie Lipton
About the Artists
Stew is a Tony Award and Obie Award-winning playwright, singer-songwriter and guitarist. Stew has released an assortment of successful rock albums with his band The Negro Problem since the early 90s, including Guest Host, and The Naked Dutch Painter and Other Songs, both of which were named Album of the Year by Entertainment Weekly. He began writing musicals with Heidi Rodewald in 2004. His autobiographical musical Passing Strange was turned into a film by Spike Lee. Stew holds a PhD in Humane Letters from Oshkosh University, Wisconsin.
Heidi Rodewald is a Tony Award -nominated and Obie Award-winning composer, guitarist and bassist. She has composed music for Karen Kandel’s Portraits: Night and Day (2004); Brides of the Moon by The Five Lesbian Brothers (2010); and co-composed music for Shakespeare’s Othello, Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet (2010–12). Rodewald joined The Negro Problem in 1997 and has collaborated with Stew since.
Marty Beller has been drumming for Stew and Heidi for over 15 years and has been the drummer for They Might Be Giants for the past 12 years. Art Terry (piano) is a London based singer/songwriter who studied music with teachers from the African-American folk and classical disciplines in Los Angeles where he grew up. Mike McGinnis (assorted woodwinds) is a musical explorer whose curiosity and imagination have taken him beyond the limits of stylistic barriers.
Stew lights up Curran with blues-rock song cycle by Robert Hurwitt, San Franciso Chronicle
Excerpt: The tunes are catchy and richly varied, often within one number. The lyrics are witty, sometimes affecting and almost always remarkably thought-provoking. Read the full article.
Review: ‘Notes of a Native Song’ Is Stew’s Homage to James Baldwin by Charles Isherwood, the New York Times
Excerpt: Jazz and some moody blues riffs intermingle with driving rock in many of the songs, which are more meditations on Baldwin’s themes — of the comfort of exile, of the anger and pain that being black in America can inspire, of work that blends “myth, mystery and imagined history.” Read the full article.