Rock and roll is theater in an incisive, poignant and funny “concert novel” inspired by James Baldwin.

Reveling in the inherent theatricality of rock and roll performance, Notes of a Native Song combines Stew’s incisive, poignant, and funny storytelling with already-on-their-way-to-being classic songs inspired by playwright, novelist, and essayist James Baldwin. Created by Tony Award- and Obie Award-winning playwright/singer-songwriter Stew (Passing Strange) and co-composed with his Obie Award-winning, Tony-nominated longtime collaborator Heidi Rodewald, Native Song is spirited and engaging a “concert novel” exploring Baldwin’s life and work that is already acclaimed by audiences in Harlem and San Francisco. Stew’s electric stage presence and the deep beauty and intelligence of his and Heidi’s songs are backed by a virtuoso band.

“Jazz and some moody blues riffs intermingle with driving rock in many of the songs, which are more meditations on Baldwin’s themes — of the comfort of exile, of the anger and pain that being black in America can inspire, of work that blends “myth, mystery and imagined history”…The show is really a celebration of Baldwin’s legacy as an inspiration for artists to create their own work that, like his, defies genres and expectations.” – NY Times

Notes of a Native Song was originally commissioned and produced by Harlem Stage through its WaterWorks program and supported by The National Endowment for the Arts, Time Warner and The MAP Fund: a program of Creative Capital, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.