Saturday, June 6, 2015

Review: ‘Notes of a Native Song’ Is Stew’s Homage to James Baldwin; New York Times, 6/4/15

Charles Isherwood, New York Times; Review: ‘Notes of a Native Song’ Is Stew’s Homage to James Baldwin:
"The concept, according to Stew, who wrote the lyrics and text and collaborated with Heidi Rodewald on the music, is to present Baldwin “as a blues singer,” although the music is primarily rock-driven, as was the case with their “Passing Strange,” which opened at the Public Theater and subsequently moved to Broadway. Stew also jokes that he might be accused of “spiritual copyright infringement” in creating that show, because he has long been inspired by Baldwin’s own journey. As with Baldwin, who wrote most of his work during a long exile from America spent mostly in France, Stew’s artistic development took place partly in Europe and was dramatized in “Passing Strange.”
He certainly needn’t worry about actual copyright infringement in “Notes of a Native Song.” For the most part, the details of Baldwin’s life are alluded to haphazardly; don’t expect anything close to a linear biography, or even a nonlinear one."

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