Inside D.C. entertainment

Music for ex-lovers: Stew and Heidi sing this weekend

November 18, 2011 - 02:18 PM
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Stew and Heidi

Surviving breakups usually mean erasing everything that ever reminded you of that former significant other. Stew (Mark Stewart) and Heidi Rodewald, the professional team behind the music of the Tony Award-winning Passing Strange, a story of self discovery abroad, took an unusual path.

They'd broken up at the beginning of the play's Broadway run. Instead of making solo hits of marked bitterness and despair, they channeled their experiences into Making It, an album that tells the story of how the former couple managed to break up, get over it, and still remain in each other's lives.

"We spent two years in a play as sort of a broken-up couple, so that presented certain challenges," Stew says. When the play closed on Broadway, they chose to continue their professional relationship. "We basically decided instead of not working together, we'd make a record about how difficult it was to be together...to have gone through what we went through."

The album drops in January. The only way the former couple were ever able to work together was their ability to use music as an outlet, he says. "Some people are so in love with their hurt they put their hurt over everything else. I had a choice to walk away or turn this difficult feeling to a piece of art."

Stew, Heidi and keyboardist Jon Spurney perform at Studio Theatre, Friday and Saturday. The acoustic set features songs from Passing Strange and songs that were cut from the play and never before heard, older songs from The Negro Problem, and previews of Making It. 8:30 p.m. $35 general admission, $20 students.

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