Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Book by John Cameron Mitchell
Music by Stephen Trask
Directed by Sydney Parks Smith
March 26 - April 23, 2022
“Plays… don't come louder, lewder or more gorgeously original than Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” The Guardian
Winner of four Tony Awards, Hedwig is a cabaret, a rock ‘n roll gig and a stand-up act rolled into a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience. Hedwig Schmidt, “internationally ignored song stylist,” is a fourth wall smashing, East German rock goddess who also happens to be the victim of a botched gender reassignment surgery. Proving time and again that an indomitable spirit can’t ever be tied down, she tells her furiously funny, poignant and high-voltage story in the only way she can ... in song. An adult, thought-provoking musical about the quest for individuality, Hedwig is an inspiration for anyone who has felt life gave them an inch when they deserved a mile.
Playing in the Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre
“Foulmouthed, electrically tuneful and furiously funny…” – The New York Times
Hedwig tells the story of Hansel, a "slip of a girlyboy" who loves philosophy and rock music. Hansel grows up in East Berlin, shadowed by the Berlin wall. While Hansel is relaxing in the sun one afternoon, he meets Luther Robinson, a U.S. soldier. Luther falls in love with Hansel and the two decide to marry. This plan will allow Hansel to leave communist East Germany for the capitalist West. However, in order to be married, the couple must consist of a man and a woman. Hansel's mother, Hedwig, gives him her name and passport and she and Luther coerce Hansel into a gender reassignment surgery. "The sex change operation got botched" and Hansel, now Hedwig, is left with an angry inch.
Hedwig follows Luther and his American Dream to Junction City, Kansas. Best laid plans are thrown out the trailer window after Luther leaves Hedwig on their first wedding anniversary for another man. To recover from her heartbreak and loneliness Hedwig befriends a shy and misunderstood Christian teenager Tommy Speck, with whom she writes some songs. Hedwig gives him the stage name "Tommy Gnosis", but he later leaves her and goes on to become a wildly-successful rock star with the songs Hedwig wrote alone and with him. "Internationally ignored" Hedwig and her band The Angry Inch are forced to support themselves by playing coffee bars and strip mall dives. Hedwig believes that Tommy is her soul mate and that she cannot be whole without him. She feels driven to either reunite with him or destroy him.
“Mitchell and Trask's droll take on recent pop history is one of this musical's many supplementary delights.” – Hollywood Reporter
This groundbreaking, Obie-winning, Off-Broadway smash also won multiple awards for its hit film adaptation. It tells the story of "internationally ignored song stylist" Hedwig Schmidt, an East German rock 'n' roll goddess who also happens to be the victim of a botched gender reassignment surgery, which has left her with just "an angry inch."
The show daringly breaks the fourth wall, as Hedwig directly tells the audience of her past tribulations and heartbreak in the form of an extended monologue paired with rock songs. With a little help from her band and her back-up singer Yitzhak, Hedwig examines her quest for her other half, for love and ultimately for her identity.
This outrageous, hilarious, provocative and unexpectedly inspiring story is dazzlingly performed by Hedwig in the form of a rock gig/stand-up comedy routine backed by the hard-rocking band "The Angry Inch." The conceit of the stage production is that the audience are watching Hedwig's musical act as she stalks the tour of the (now) famous rockstar Tommy Gnosis around the country. Occasionally Hedwig references Gnosis's concert which is playing in an adjoining venue.
Hedwig's band (including the character of Yitzhak) appear on stage for the entire duration of the musical, as does Hedwig herself.
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John Cameron Mitchell (playwright) is a performer, director, and playwright in the performance and film industries. Mitchell wrote and starred in Hedwig and the Angry Inch in 1998. Three years later, he directed and starred in the feature-film version of the musical for which he won Best Director at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. His performance was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. Both the play and the film were critical hits and have spawned cult followings around the world. Mitchell reprised his performance in the role of Hedwig on Broadway for a limited run in early 2015, opposite Lena Hall as Yitzhak. He received a 2015 Special Tony Award for his return to the role.
Stephen Trask (composer) is an American musician and composer who graduated from Wesleyan University. He was the music director and house band member at the New York City club Squeezebox, where he performed with stars such as Debbie Harry, Lene Lovich and Joey Ramone. Trask's real-life band, Cheater, performed as Hedwig's band "The Angry Inch" in the film version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He received an Obie Award for the play and a Grammy Award nomination for the movie. Trask has done five films with filmmaker Paul Weitz. He composed the score for 2004's In Good Company and American Dreamz, for which he also co-wrote the numerous songs the contestants sing, as well as the 2009 film Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant. He also scored the films Camp and The Station Agent, as well as Dreamgirls, In the Land of Women, The Savages, and The Back-up Plan, among other works. Some of his recent work includes the 2013 films Lovelace, directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffery Friedman and Admission, directed by Paul Weitz.