Partway to Paradise

The Texas plains look plainer when Audra's offstage; Stew tells an old story pleasantly

Lonely star state: McDonald and company in 110 in the Shade
photo: Joan Marcus
Lonely star state: McDonald and company in 110 in the Shade


110 in the Shade
By N. Richard Nash, Tom Jones, and Harvey Schmidt
Roundabout Studio 54
254 West 54th Street

Stairway to Paradise
City Center Encores!

Passing Strange
By Stew
Public Theater
425 Lafayette Street

Plenty of personality is being revealed downtown in Passing Strange, a pleasantly laconic rock musical by the West Coast artist Stew, which tells a familiar story—a budding artist with wanderlust has to come home to find out what he's lacking—in skillfully crafted, listenable songs that never quite seize you as you hope they will. (The best one, a sardonic honky-tonk number about being black in Berlin, is ironically the score's most conventional "show tune.") But Daniel Breaker and Eisa Davis, as the budding artist and sorrowfully patient mother of this musical bildungsroman, invest their sketchy roles with all the power and variety that two strong personalities can muster, and Stew himself makes an engaging, though not always necessary, narrator.

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