You will see an actor walk on air for a few seconds if you attend a premiere show of Passing Strange: The Rock Musical About Art, Love and Family. The Half & Half Production opened on Thursday, May 2 at Highland Mall in Austin, 6001 Airport Blvd. The performances are held in the rented space next to Wet Seal on the first floor. The venue runs through May 12. I attended during a rehearsal night, and again on the second day. I was impressed with the preparation and perfecting work they were doing. A review of the production follows.
Because I went to a rehearsal night, I came to appreciate what it takes to put on a quality production such as this one. I liked the relevance of the play’s theme to today’s issues.
The migration theme provided a framework throughout the play, but it was underlined with a coming-of-age story of a youth searching for identity.
Everyone in the production gave it their all, as if performing for a packed house. I believe each person there will share the experience and suggest others attend for the remaining days. I state this based upon the 100% standing ovation at the end of the production. I believe a lot of people will show up during those last days, including Mother’s Day when they are running a 2 for 1 special.
Great acting, creative improvisation, amazing spoken word poetry delivery and soaring singing vocals made this a stellar production.
As this play progressed, I wondered how many rehearsal hours it took for them to provide such an amazing level of skill. Two in particular (Karsten “Taz” Thompson and Vincent Hooper) had a massive amount of song, poetry, and dialogue parts. Taz served as narrator, sermonizer and spoken word artist. He had dialogue parts, as well. Hooper was the youth in the production. He stated that he is 17 years old, yet he held the position of top-billed artist.
Jacqui Cross, who plays mother to this youth, summed up his dilemma by stating, “The youth in this show is really trying to find his way.”
As he matures he migrates to some interesting places across the globe and away from his mother. Each place has unique components that render them a conflicted environment.
I believe some of the best parts were the crowded stage scenes, as well as the times when some cast members came into the audience and interacted with viewers.
There’s only a few more days left for the Texas premiere of this great play. If you go to just one play this summer, let this be the one. As one of the actors, Robert Pellete, Jr. stated, “We’re having a wonderful time telling a great story.” This much was evident, and this is another reason why you should go before it’s too late. When the Texas premiere is over on May 12th, you may have missed your chance to see what a well-executed production looks like. Information about this production can be found at www.halfandhalfproductions.org.