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Friday, 20 January 2012 13:47

The Public Theater Announces Stew, Heidi Rodewald, Michael Cerveris Public Forum to Coincide with New Musical, THE TOTAL BENT

The Public Theater

The Public Theater
A Night of Conversation and Songs
With Stew, Heidi Rodewald and Michael Cerveris

Monday, February 27
At Joe’s Pub

This Public Forum Event
Coincides With The New Musical

Premiering In February

January 20, 2012 – The Public Theater (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Patrick Willingham, Executive Director) will continue the 2011-2012 Public Forum season in February with a night of conversation and songs featuring Stew, Heidi Rodewald and Michael Cerveris.  This Public Forum event will coincide with the new musical, The Total Bent, premiering in February as part of the Public Lab series. This intimate evening featuring three great singer-songwriters will take place on Monday, February 27 at 9:30 p.m. at Joe’s Pub. Member tickets, priced at $15, are on sale now. Single tickets, priced at $20, go on sale Thursday, January 26.

{module ad_left_body}Making a triumphant return to Joe's Pub, Stew and Heidi Rodewald will perform songs from their new musical The Total Bent. They will be joined by Michael Cerveris (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Sweeney Todd, and the upcoming Broadway revival of Evita) for a provocative conversation about life in a recording studio and what happens when the worlds of theater and rock collide.

Stew and Heidi Rodewald team up with director Joanna Settle for The Total Bent, 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 runs Tuesday, February 14 through Sunday, March 4. Tickets to The Total Bent are $15 and are on sale now.

The Total Bent complete cast features Kenny Brawner (Deacon), Eddie R. Brown III (Abee), David Cale (Byron), Vondie Curtis-Hall (Joe Roy), Harriett D. Foy (Your Imaginary Friend), William Jackson Harper (Marty Boy), Damian Lemar Hudson (Deacon), and Julian Rozzell (Andrew).

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 and Acme Sound Partners.

THE PUBLIC FORUM is a high-profile series of lectures, debates, and conversations, now in its second season. Curated by Jeremy McCarter, the Forum features leading voices in politics, media, and the arts. Alec Baldwin, Anne Hathaway, Cynthia Nixon, Michael Stuhlbarg, Sam Waterston, and NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman have hosted its programs, which have featured the insights of Kurt Andersen, Carl Bernstein, David Brooks, Arianna Huffington, Bill Irwin, Tony Kushner, Suzan-Lori Parks, Francine Prose, Stephen Sondheim, and young veterans of the war in Afghanistan – plus performances by Anne Hathaway and Michael Cerveris, among others.

STEW’s 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’s 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:

HEIDI RODEWALD was co-composer of the musical Passing Strange, which transferred from The Public Theater to Broadway in 2008 where it was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Orchestrations. Passing Strange won a Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical, the 2008 Obie Award for Best New American Theater Piece and Best Ensemble and was made into a film by Spike Lee. Rodewald composed music for Karen Kandel's Portraits: Night and Day (2004); Brides of the Moon by The Five Lesbian Brothers (2010); and co-composed with Stew music for Shakespeare’s Othello and Much Ado About Nothing (2010-11). Rodewald joined The Negro Problem in 1997 and since then has worked alongside Stew, performing, producing, arranging, and composing. She is currently working on a new musical, Against You, a free adaptation of Antigone set in the 1960's with librettist, Donna Di Novelli.

MICHAEL CERVERIS’s Broadway credits include In The Next Room or the vibrator play, Hedda Gabler, Cymbeline, LoveMusik (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Drama League Award nominations), Sweeney Todd (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Drama League Award nominations, Drama Critics Circle citation), Assassins (Tony Award winner, Outer Critics Circle Award winner, Original Cast Grammy nomination.), The Who’s Tommy (Tony nomination, Drama League nomination, Theater World Award winner, Original Cast Grammy winner) and Titanic. He was seen in London’s West End Hedwig and the Angry Inch, as well as Off-Broadway and  in Los Angeles (Garland Award winner, Ovation Award nomination). His other Off-Broadway credits include  Sondheim’s Road Show, King Lear (Drama League Award nomination) Futurity, an oak tree, The Games  (BAM Next Wave), Duncan Sheik’s Spring Awakening, The Apple Tree for Encores! He can be seen on film and television in Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, Stake Land (Cadillac Audience Award Toronto IFF 2010), Brief Interviews With Hideous Men (Sundance 2009), Meskada (Tribeca 2010), The Mexican, Lulu on the Bridge, Tokyo Pop, Rock & Roll High School Forever, andcurrently on The Observer on “FRINGE,” as a series regular on “Fame”, “The American Embassy,”  and guest star on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “CSI,” “dr. vegas,” “The Equalizer,” and others. 

THE PUBLIC THEATER (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Patrick Willingham, Executive Director) was founded by Joseph Papp in 1954 and is now one of the nation’s preeminent cultural institutions, producing new plays, musicals and productions of classics at its downtown home and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The Public Theater’s mandate to create a theater for all New Yorkers continues to this day on stage and through extensive outreach programs. Each year, more than 250,000 people attend Public Theater-related productions and events at six downtown stages, including Joe’s Pub, and Shakespeare in the Park. The Public Theater’s productions have won 42 Tony Awards, 158 Obies, 42 Drama Desk Awards and four Pulitzer Prizes. Fifty-four Public Theater productions have moved to Broadway, including Sticks and Bones; That Championship Season; A Chorus Line; For Colored Girls…; The Pirates of Penzance; The Tempest; Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk; The Ride Down Mt. Morgan; Topdog/Underdog; Take Me Out; Caroline, or Change; Passing Strange; the revival of HAIR; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Merchant of Venice.