The Public Theater (Artistic Director Oskar Eustis; Executive Director Patrick Willingham) will present the world premiere of THE TOTAL BENT, with book and lyrics by Stew and music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, beginning on Tuesday, February 14. Directed by Joanna Settle, THE TOTAL BENT runs through Sunday, March 4 in The Public’s Anspacher Theater. Single tickets for THE TOTAL BENT go on sale Friday, December 16; and can be purchased by calling (212) 967-7555, by visiting www.publictheater.org, or in person at The Public Theater box office at 425 Lafayette Street. Tickets are $15 to all Public Lab productions.
Stew and Heidi Rodewald, creators of the Tony Award-winning Passing Strange, team up with director Joanna Settle and return to The Public with a new musical about a black gospel prodigy from down South and a white music producer from South London who meet in a recording studio just south of the Twilight Zone, as they both desperately seek their own versions of transcendence, salvation, and a hit record. Divine inspiration, fantastical visions, and one legendary music-producer father frame this electrifying new musical about the complicated space between the sacred and the profane.
THE TOTAL BENT features scenic design by Andrew Lieberman; costume design by Gabriel Berry; lighting design by Adam Silverman; and sound design by Obadiah Eaves.
Now in its 5th season, Public Lab provides new opportunities for both our audiences and artists. Our audience gains access to more of the theater they love from The Public – both Shakespeare and new work – at the affordable price of only $15. Our artists, both emerging and established, gain a new platform to further develop their work on stage and in performance.
STEW (Book, Lyrics, Music). His work for The Public includes Passing Strange, for which he received the 2008 Tony award for Best Book of a Musical, and four other Tony nominations including Best Musical. He is also a two-time Obie award winner for Passing Strange (Best New Theater Piece/Best Ensemble). Spike Lee shot a feature film of the Broadway production of Passing Strange and it rocked selected theaters before debuting on PBS’ Great Performances in 2009. It’s also 100% on Rotten Tomatoes so rent it now! Stew leads a band called The Negro Problem (TNP) whose albums have survived much critical acclaim. TNP created “Making It,” a song-cycle for rock band and video, which was commissioned by and performed at St. Ann's Warehouse in February, 2010. In October of that same year “Brooklyn Omnibus,” another live song-cycle with video, was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy Of Music and performed there. Stew is a member of The Sundance Institute Alumni Advisory Board. Stew was Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin in Madison during Fall 2011 where he taught a class entitled “Song Factory” and was curator of a weekly public series at the Mitchell Theater which featured leading New York performance and music artists. January 2012 will see the release of the music from “Making It” by The Negro Problem on their new label “Tight Natural Productions.” Stew and Heidi wrote "Gary Come Home" for the "Sponge Bob SquarePants" cartoon because that’s all anyone cares about anyway. Website: stewsongs.com.