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Passing Strange musical’s Giles Terera and Liesl Tommy on teenage dreams and post-punk vibes

We sit down with the leading man and his director at the Young Vic

Giles Terera and Liesl Tommy in interview with WhatsOnStage
Giles Terera and Liesl Tommy, © WhatsOnStage

Yesterday the European premiere of Tony Award-winning musical Passing Strange held its official opening at the Young Vic in London.

Ahead of the big night, we sat down with the show’s star and its director – Giles Terera and Liesl Tommy – to hear all about the new production. Inspired by one of the musical’s lines, “It’s weird when you wake up in the morning and realise that your entire adult life was based on a decision made by a teenager. A stoned teenager”, we were keen to find out what teenage decisions or aspirations they had in their own lives. Find out in the video below:

Passing Strange, which has book and lyrics by Stew, and music by Stew Stewart and Heidi Rodewald, created in collaboration with Annie Dorsen, follows a young Black musician as he sets out on a musical odyssey, through 80s Los Angeles, Amsterdam and Berlin.

It was a major Broadway hit in 2008, receiving seven Tony Award nominations, winning for Best Book of a Musical, as well as seven Drama Desk Award nominations, winning for Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Lyrics and Outstanding Music; and it was named winner of the Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical. A live Broadway cast recording is available to listen to now.

Alongside Terera (Hamilton) as the Narrator, the cast also includes Rachel Adedeji (Dreaming Whilst Black) as Mother, Keenan Munn-Francis (Black Dog) as Youth, David Albury (Get Up, Stand Up!), Nadia Violet Johnson (School of Rock), Renée Lamb (Cake) and Caleb Roberts (Tina – The Tina Turner Musical)

The band consist of Ikechukwu Onwuagbu (bass), Nick Pinchbeck (keyboards/guitar), James Taylor (drums) and musical director Art Terry (keyboards/guitar).

The creative team brings together set and costume designer Ben Stones, lighting designer Richard Howell, sound designer Tom Gibbons, video design by Will Duke, musical supervisor Brandon Michael Nase, choreographer Dickson Mbi, voice and dialect coach Hazel Holder and casting director Heather Basten.

Passing Strange runs until 6 July, with tickets on sale below.

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Passing Strange

Final performance: 06 July 2024