Stew Develops a Show Based on the Ideas of James Baldwin

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Stew performs 'Notes of a Native Song' at Bing Hall at Stanford. (Photo: Courtesy of Stanford Arts)

Stew (born Mark Stewart) is one of the quirkiest and most compelling singer-songwriters around. He scored with the breakout musical memoir Passing Strange, which had its world premiere at Berkeley Rep in 2006. That show's humor and mix of rock 'n' roll, soul and confessional folk remains a vivid memory, and went on to win a Tony in New York. Stew's latest work, with his band The Negro Problem, is Notes of a Native Song, a tribute to the work and thinking of writer James Baldwin. It's a special blend of truth-telling art and activism that’s right in line with Baldwin’s legacy. It runs Feb. 2 and 3 in Bing Hall at Stanford University; details here.