As you enter the Zach Theatre for an evening with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, you realize that you are in for something a bit out of the ordinary. Guests are donning boas, wigs and knee-high boots while a lounge singer croons and a gallery of women and men in drag line the walls. “This is going to be fun!” is my first thought.
After a glass of wine and chit-chat we are escorted to our seats and a bit confused as to why the set was that of the popular children’s book, Goodnight Moon. We were soon to discover that elements of that juvenile scene were morphed into hilarious visuals for Hedwig, played by Daniel Rowan. And speaking of visuals, the costumes that Hedwig wore were very entertaining and colorful throughout the show. The legs on Hedwig were beyond compare! WOW!
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is based on the life of Hedwig, an East German boy who underwent a botched sex-change operation. Hedwig tells us of her sad and lonely upbringing, her stern mother, and how a marriage to a man brings her to the United States. As a child she loved music and became a rock singer in America among other occupations that forced her to sell her body.
Part of what makes this special is that it’s a cast of only two! Hedwig is accompanied by her band The Angry Inch and her current husband Yitzhak, played by Leslie McDonel, throughout the show. As Hedwig maneuvers through heartbreak and the promise of stardom, she performs wild tunes and dance moves that are sure to stir up a variety of emotions. One of the pleasant surprises of the night was the amazing voice of Yitzhak. The songs he/she sung and beauty of his/her voice were beyond compare during the show.
photo credits Kirk Tuck
The show was rather short with no intermission but packed with hilarity and raw emotion. The actors left it all on the stage and put their whole selves into their roles. By the end of the show you feel the message of struggle, hope, and growth very intimately. This production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch is one of many since it’s 1998 debut and the first Broadway appearance in 2014. It’s strong, fun and poignant and I highly recommend seeing it before it leaves Austin on March 3.
Created by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is “the most exciting rock score written for the theatre since, oh, ever” says Time Magazine. Winner of two Obie Awards and four Tony Awards®, Hedwig tells the story of “internationally ignored song stylist” Hedwig Schmidt, a fourth-wall-smashing East German rock ‘n’ roll goddess . See “The Angry Inch” for a rock concert and stand-up comedy event that will inspire you.
Harrell Williams, Jr……………..Percussion
WHAT: Hedwig and the Angry Inch directed by Dave Steakley
WHERE: The Topfer at ZACH Theatre
Age Recommendation: 17 and up for strong language and adult themes