Oct. 5, 2017
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) Fine and Performing Arts (FPA) Department announces it will kick off this year’s theatrical season on Friday, Oct. 13, with “Passing Strange,” a comedy-drama, rock musical about black identity in America, in MCLA’s Venable Theater.

The production is the first of MCLA’s 2017-18 theatrical season, titled “We the People,” in response to last November’s presidential election and the nation’s political and social upheaval. “Passing Strange” will run through Sunday, Oct. 22.

“Passing Strange” is an autobiographical story from “Stew of Stew” and “The Negro Problem,” with music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald. The play is about a young black man from Los Angeles who feels like a foreigner in his own country. He leaves behind his middle class, church-ruled upbringing and travels to Europe in search of his artistic and personal identity, or what he calls, “the real.”
The New York Times calls this musical, "Fresh, exuberant, bracingly inventive, bitingly funny, and full of heart.”

“Passing Strange” will be directed by Jeremy Winchester, assistant professor of theatre. Music direction will be provided by Laura Standley, associate professor of theatre. Artist-in-Residence Rodney Creech – whose resume includes work with the Savannah Stage Company, Flint Youth Theatre and the Contemporary American Theatre Festival – will join the cast as “Narrator.” MCLA alumna Bryanna Bradley ’17 will choreograph the production, and also play the role of “Mother.”

“Passing Strange” will run through Sunday, Oct. 22. A panel discussion with the artists, students, faculty, as well as experts on race relations in America, will take place after the Saturday, Oct. 21, 8 p.m. performance, and a “Critical Response Session” will take place on Sunday, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m. Both discussions will take place in Venable Theater.
Additional productions this academic year will include “Tartuffe,” a biting satire aimed at religious hypocrisy, which will run Friday, Dec. 1, through Sunday, Dec. 10.

“Tartuffe” will be followed by “Rhinoceros,” the first production of the spring semester. “Rhinoceros” was written in 1958, in response to playwright Eugène Ionesco’s experience of fascism in Romania in the 1930s. It will run Feb. 23 through March 4, 2018.

Lastly, the season will conclude with a more mature retelling of what happens after “Happily Ever After” in the musical theatre classic “Into the Woods,” which will run April 20 through 29, 2018.

For more information or to reserve tickets, please call the box office, (413)-662-5123, or go to

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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