Theater Review: “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”

An amazing performance!

An amazing performance!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Oh my goodness, where should I start?! As I mentioned last week, I just visited New York City for the first time ever, and I’m happy to say that I had a blast! I didn’t have nearly enough time to go exploring, but I did manage to visit Times Square, the Empire State Building, the NY Public Library, among other sightseeing spots.

I also had the opportunity to see “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Broadway! I’m so glad that it was my first show, because it married the quintessential rock musical experience with a powerful story about love, loss, sacrifice, and being true to yourself.

Michael C. Hall did a fantastic job as Hedwig, the “slip of a girlyboy from communist East Berlin” who suffered a botched sex reassignment surgery and two heartbreaking relationships. Hall interacted with Hedwig’s bandmates with the right touch of tongue-in-cheek humor and vanity.

I must admit, however, that Lena Hall (unrelated to her costar), who played Hedwig’s gender-bending husband Yitzhak, stole the show. After witnessing her chill-inducing rendition of “I Will Always Love You,” there was no doubt in my mind whether she deserved the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical this year.

My only criticism that I could make about this show was that it might be difficult to understand for an outsider to the story. Because Hall portrayed both Hedwig and Tommy Gnosis, as well as did the voice of Luther Robinson, it could be confusing to decipher how those three characters were related.

Other than that, “Hedwig” benefitted from having a small cast on a small set. The Belasco Theatre is an intimate venue, and if you’re lucky, you could experience some up-close-and-personal fan-service from the actors!

If you’re in NYC and want some amazing entertainment, check out “Hedwig and the Angry Inch!” You won’t be sorry!

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Big News in the Big Apple!

Image via Theater Mania

Hey everyone!

I’m overflowing with excitement, because in just a few days, I’ll be on a plane to visit New York City for the very first time! I’ll be in the Big Apple for the week to attend Strata + Hadoop World, a key event in the Big Data industry. Since the conference goes until Friday evening, I’ll be spending the weekend taking in all the sights!

The most important item on my bucket list is to watch a Broadway musical, and I’m super stoked to say that I’ve got tickets to “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” starring Michael C. Hall from the TV show “Dexter!”

I was first introduced to “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” in one of my Ancient Greek literature courses in college. To sum up the story, it’s about Hansel, a German man who undergoes sex reassignment surgery and takes his mother Hedwig’s name to escape communist East Berlin and marry the man he loves. Unfortunately, the surgery’s botched, and Hedwig is left with an ‘angry inch’ of flesh.

To make matters worse, Hedwig’s husband leaves her after a year, on the day the Berlin Wall falls. All of her efforts have been for naught, so she decides to form a rock band called “The Angry Inch.” Hedwig then enters a relationship with Tommy Speck, a teenager whom she gives the stage name Tommy Gnosis. They write songs together, which Tommy later steals to become a big hit.

Hedwig’s story is told as she shadows Tommy’s tour, playing in nearby diners and strip malls. It’s a fascinating story, but the best part is that the creators John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask were inspired by Plato’s Symposium.

In Symposium, Socrates debates with various Greek men on the origin of love. Aristophanes, a famous comedic writer, explains that long ago there existed three sexes because people were physically joined back to back. After defying the gods, Zeus cut humans in half and scattered them.

The concept of soulmates originates from trying to reunite with your other half, and sex is our way to achieve that physical connection. Although Aristophanes intended his story to be humorous, it becomes much more romantic and profound in Hedwig’s song “The Origin of Love:”

I absolutely love this song, and cannot wait to hear it live. “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” has a long history, from opening Off-Broadway in 1998 to its film adaptation in 2001 to finally this year’s Broadway revival. And the good times keep rolling! In June, Mitchell revealed that he’s working on a sequel!

So keep an eye out for my review of the musical production next week! And please pass on any suggestions on what to do in NYC!