More than 20 years after making his first splash with "She's Gotta Have It," Spike Lee is finally going to make it to Sundance. His belated debut -- in the 25th year of the Sundance Film Festival -- comes as director and co-producer of the film version of "Passing Strange," the stage musical by L.A. indy-rockers Stew (Mark Stewart) and Heidi Rodewald that took an unlikely passage from New York's nonprofit Public Theater to Broadway in February. It ran for 165 performances at the Belasco Theatre, with Stew nabbing a Tony Award for best book of a musical before it closed July 20.
Among those captivated was Lee, who said Friday that he saw the show several times at the Public, then came back for repeat viewings at the Belasco -- even before producers approached him about capturing it on film before it closed. The film will premiere in the Jan. 15-25 festival's noncompetitive Spectrum Documentary Spotlight program, where Lee is hoping it will attract a distributor. The filmmaker said he's been invited to the Sundance festival before, but wasn't able to make it.