A young black man-- let's call him Youth -- grows up in the stable and strong South Central Los Angeles neighborhood during the '70s, with his mother and her religious faith to guide him. The problem with this idyllic upbringing is that Youth doesn't feel at home here, nor does church do anything for him; the music however, that moves him. And so Youth founds a punk band to shout his individuality at the world, but it doesn't quite work out. The sophistication of Europe beckons, and Youth makes the crossing to find himself in a string of foreign countries. Hopscotching from one musical idiom to another, finding and leaving women along the way, Youth attempts to figure out where he belongs and who he is. Along the way the music is his only faithful companion, and it leads him right back where he started -- to himself. Passing Strange, Stew and Heidi Rodewald's hybrid musical/rock concert experience, challenges the notions of identity and theatrical conventions even as its hero confronts the stereotype of the rock & roll bohemian as a strictly white creation. New Line Theatre opens its season with Passing Strange; performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (September 22 through October 15) at the Washington University South Campus Theatre (6501 Clayton Road, Richmond Heights; 314-534-1111 or www.newlinetheatre.com). Tickets are $10 to $20.
Thursdays-Saturdays. Starts: Sept. 22. Continues through Oct. 15, 2011