Tony Award-winning Musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Posted on 04/17/2017
After winning four Tony Awards® and completing a stellar run of 500 Broadway performances, Hedwig and the Angry Inch will rock State Theatre New Jersey for five performances, May 19-21. A story of love, identity, and betrayal that is both heartbreaking and charming is told by its transgender German rock star, Hedwig. The lead role of Hedwig will be performed by Broadway veteran Euan Morton in the title role with Hannah Corneau as Yitzhak.
In 1994, songwriter Stephen Trask and book writer John Cameron Mitchell collaborated to tell the story of an individual who not only struggled as an artist but struggled to find his/her identity. Growing up in Junction City, Kansas, John Cameron Mitchell came out as gay to his parents when he was just a teenager, and he wanted to create a character that represented his own life experiences. Stephen Trask owned a drag-punk club in New York City called “Squeezebox,” where Mitchell would hang out due to the fact that his boyfriend played bass in a band there. This is where he met Trask, and the two decided to develop Hedwig and the Angry Inch through band gigs at local clubs rather than through a workshop.
The character of Hedwig is neither woman nor a man, but a “genderqueer” character that inspires people to not identify by sex, but by the person they are inside. The story tells of a young man who grew up in East Germany, had a botched sex change, and faces a life of heartbreak after the change. Hedwig tells this story through monologues, reenactments, and some rockin’ tunes including "Wig in a Box," "Sugar Daddy," and "Tear Me Down."
The musical premiered at an intimate Off-Broadway venue called the Jane Street Theatre, where Mitchell created the role of Hedwig and Trask played in the show’s original band. The musical opened to critical acclaim, followed by a two-year run and a successful film adaptation, which also starred Mitchell. Fourteen years later, it was announced that the show would move to Broadway’s Belasco Theatre and that Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) would play the title role. Not only did Harris lose a significant amount of weight to capture the femininity of the character, but the show’s run sold out within just a few weeks of tickets going on sale. The show went on to win four Tony Awards® including Best Musical Revival, Best Leading Actor in a Musical (Harris), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Lena Hall), and Best Lighting Design. Many big names such as Darren Criss, Andrew Rannells, Taye Diggs, and Michael C. Hall stepped into the role during the Broadway run, all receiving praise for their performances.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch has become not only a Tony Award®-winning musical, but a groundbreaking one that tells a touching, comedic, but sorrowful story of a person who struggles to find the meaning of life. The story and music speak to a very wide range of people, from anyone who feels like they don’t belong to those who are just looking for a fun time. Hedwig and the Angry Inch will tear down the house at State Theatre New Jersey May 19-21.