The Arts Institute, the Theatre & Drama Department, and the Office for Multicultural Arts Initiatives (a program of the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate) welcome playwright/singer/songwriter Stew to the University of Wisconsin-Madison as artist in residency for the fall 2011 semester. The Arts Institute Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Program brings innovative artists to campus to teach semester-long, interdepartmental courses and to publicly present their work for campus and community audiences.
The Stew residency is sponsored by the Theatre & Drama Department and the Office for Multicultural Arts Initiatives and co-sponsored by the School of Music and the Departments of Afro-American Studies, English, Art, Sociology, Dance, Gender and Women's Studies, and Communication Arts. Other partners include WSUM and WUD Music Committee.
Stew is a Tony and Obie award-winning singer/songwriter/playwright who lives in Berlin and Brooklyn, NY. In the early 1990s he formed a band called The Negro Problem and later went on to release albums under his own name with his collaborator Heidi Rodewald.
His 2000 release Guest Host was named Album of the Year by Entertainment Weekly, and his 2002 album, The Naked Dutch Painter, repeated that feat. In 2008, Stew garnered four Tony nominations for his work on the musical Passing Strange, winning the award for “Best Book of a Musical.”
The play closed in July 2008, with Spike Lee filming the final performances for a feature film, which screened at the Sundance Festival in January 2009 to critical acclaim, and was featured on PBS's "Great Performances."