Passing Strange Reviews
Washington Post- Highly Recommended
"...The musical highlights are plentiful, starting with the jolt of an opening number, "Prologue (We Might Play All Night)," and moving on to such tunes as the hypnotic scene-setter "Merci Beaucoup, M. Godard" and the rollicking ballad turned anthem "Keys." Musicians Alec Green, Jason Wilson, Angel Bethea and Marika Countouris sharply set the tempo, and the show mostly avoids the common rock musical sin of swallowing up the lyrics and dialogue (though there were some hiccups early in an opening night performance)."
"...Isaac “Deacon Izzy” Bell marks an impressive acting debut in Signature’s solid production of the Tony Award-winning musical Passing Strange (★★★★☆). As the Narrator guiding the show’s transatlantic coming-of-age journey from South Central L.A. to Amsterdam, Berlin, and back, Bell — a D.C. artist and musician — credibly fills that liminal space between actor and audience, both invested in the action, and along with us for the ride."
Talkin Broadway- Highly Recommended
"...In its production of Passing Strange in the intimate ARK Theatre, Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, is providing an experience that is hard to describe except for its dazzling impact. The seven cast members-most of whom take on multiple roles-are dead-on, director Raymond O. Caldwell demonstrates his sharp eye for detail throughout, and the aural and visual effects reach out to encompass the audience."
Washington City Paper- Highly Recommended
"...Evocatively staged and deeply moving, Passing Strange transports audiences across waters, in and out of memory, and back and forth between youth and adulthood—only to leave them right where they needed to be."
DC Theater Arts- Highly Recommended
"...To be immersed in Signature Theatre's Passing Strange is to plunge headfirst into rebellion. This rock 'n' roll musical about the existential dread of an African American wannabe artist in search of "the real" will drag you through the birth of the '80s kicking, screaming, and most definitely singing along. Part musical, part concert, this production pays homage to rock 'n' roll's relationship to rhythm and blues, its boldly diverse libretto infiltrating what is typically expected of musical theater. In his Signature Theatre debut, director Raymond O. Caldwell makes use of the intimate space boxing you in so that you are saturated with the provocatively stunning performances of a star-studded cast."
MD Theatre Guide- Highly Recommended
"...The stage itself consists of a somewhat idiosyncratically interpreted grunge theme consisting of surprising, illuminated graffiti. Jonathan Dahm Robertson's set design handles the intimacy of the ARK setting wonderfully. Alberto Segarra's lighting and Eric Norris' sound design also prove that they are clever architects of theatrical illusion when it comes to this space, while Danielle Preston's costume choices just add to the heart-pounding, foot-tapping fun. "Passing Strange" lives up to its title inasmuch as it is "strangely" different from your more conventional musical fare, in a beautifully surprising way. This is one production that is not to be missed."