Tony Award Winner Stew Brings Musical Theater to Harman Writer-in-Residence Program for First TimeStudents will develop a musical with Tony Award-winning artist
January 7, 2021
The Weissman School of Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce that Tony Award-winning playwright and singer-songwriter Stew Stewart will be the Spring 2021 Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence.
For his residency, Stew will teach “The New Musical,” bringing musical theater to the Harman program for the first time in its 23-year history at Baruch College.
In this course, undergraduates will collaborate to develop a musical, writing songs and building characters side-by-side with Stew and an array of VIP guests, including a potential visit from Academy Award-winning director and producer Spike Lee, with whom Stew worked on the 2010 film adaptation of his Tony Award-winning musical, Passing Strange, and whose next film, a full-length movie musical, Stew is currently writing songs for.
The new musical that the Harman class will help to develop will be staged by Baruch Fine and Performing Arts students in Fall 2021.
“I can think of no better person than Stew to bring musical theater to the Harman Writer-in-Residence Program for the first time,” said Professor Esther Allen, director of the Harman Writer-in-Residence Program. “Works like Passing Strange and Notes of a Native Song show him to be one of the great makers of musical theatre in our time, and on top of that he has a true vocation for teaching songwriting, having taught at Stanford, Harvard, Sarah Lawrence, The New School and LaGuardia Community College, where, in 2018, he developed and staged a new musical with students, titled Columbus is Happening.”
Throughout his acclaimed career, Stew has produced multiple award-winning albums, both as a solo artist and with his band, The Negro Problem. His 2000 and 2002 solo albums Guest Host and The Naked Dutch Painter and Other Songs were both named Entertainment Weekly’s Album of the Year.
Stew followed up on the success of Passing Strange with a number of new works, including Notes of a Native Song, a posthumous musical conversation with James Baldwin that was commissioned in honor of Baldwin’s centenary, and The Total Bent, a musical set in the 1960s centered around the relationship between a preacher and his gay son. He has also continued his collaboration with Spike Lee, having written songs for and appeared in the Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It.
About the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence Program
The Harman Writer-in-Residence Program, endowed in Baruch College’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, brings a distinguished writer to campus every semester. Past participants have been Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows, National Book Awardees, and Poet Laureates, including famed playwrights Tony Kushner, Edward Albee, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Stew is the 46th Harman Writer-in-Residence, as the Program enters its 23rd year. Learn more about the program here.