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'Family Album' confirms Stew and Rodewald's musical instincts

'Family Album' confirms Stew and Rodewald's musical instincts

A few years ago "Passing Strange," the Broadway musical by Stew and Heidi Rodewald of the cult pop-rock band Stew & the Negro Problem, marked the life-giving infusion of original songwriting talents to the American theater.

They didn't know how to write traditional songs for a musical, and the theater community, bored to death by what it had sown, couldn't have been more grateful for their restorative ignorance.

"Family Album," Stew and Rodewald's latest collaboration, created with director Joanna Settle for the world premiere at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, confirms that for sheer lyrical ingenuity and contemporary music vitality this duo is top of the...