I can’t believe I saw Hedwig on Broadway 3 times and never once posted about it. So now I’m going to rectify that.
I discovered Hedwig and the Angry Inch in college, because I saw a photo of John Cameron Mitchell in Hedwig makeup in a magazine and thought he looked awesome. Soon enough I was seeing the movie with Carolyn and Adrienne and I looooved it. I pretty much made everyone I knew at the time watch it, and everyone loved it, including LeighAnne who learned about Hedwig when she was coming up to visit me and planning on moving to Buffalo. It didn’t go over so well when we played it for James and Brian though, who called it “the worst movie they’d ever seen”. Careful guys, your homophobia is showing. I attempted to kick them out of my house, but they didn’t believe me and thought I was joking, but they should know, even though it’s been over 10 years, I will never forgive them for that. (For what it’s worth, Brian did apologize, saying that he wouldn’t have wanted me to say that if he had shown me one of his favorite movies.)
Rumors have flown around for years about Hedwig going to Broadway, and in 2014 it finally did. OMG I was so excited at the announcement that it was being revived, that it didn’t matter how much it was going to cost me, I was going to go. They announced it would be a limited run starring Neil Patrick Harris. I didn’t know what to think about that, because I didn’t know he was a singer, but I didn’t care. I was going.
So what turned out to be the first trip to NYC came in May 2014 with Jason, Susan, Jessica and Nick. LeighAnne was supposed to come as well but had to cancel so Jess found a friend who was interested in the ticket. We flew down for just one night for the show, but it turned into 2 nights when our flight home was cancelled due to weather. Ah well.
The show did so well with NPH they extended the run and started having new actors play Hedwig. I didn’t think I’d go again though, we’re just too far away. Then one day I woke up to the news that Michael C Hall was going to play Hedwig. What? Dexter as Hedwig? I had to go. So Jason and I bought tickets to treat ourselves for Christmas and drove to NYC (so flights couldn’t get canceled in the winter and make us miss the show) in December 2014.
But right after I had bought the tickets to see Michael C Hall it was announced that he’d be followed by the one, the only, the original, John Cameron Mitchell. *dies* I literally started laughing in bed when I read it, I just could not believe it. We had just bought the MCH tickets though, so I let it go…until we went to the MCH show. I decided I couldn’t NOT see John Cameron Mitchell as Hedwig on BROADWAY, so when we got home, I bought us another set of tickets, and we went for the final time in March 2015.
So the first show with NPH, I was just so excited because I really never thought I’d see a major production of Hedwig. I was sitting next to a guy from the south somewhere, who was as excited as I was, and we both said we’d probably cry through the whole thing. I thought it was so great that he and his girlfriend had traveled all the way to NYC because he loved Hedwig so much, given that the South isn’t known for it’s open mindedness. He had a bunch of souvenirs when I sat down, and he was so excited “They had a Shroud of Hedwig, wanna see?!?” I did cry when it started because, again, I just never thought I’d see it live. And during Origin of Love. And during Midnight Radio, because I can’t help it. NPH did a fantastic job as Hedwig, and he sang better than I expected. His performance was funny, bringing out more of the comedic aspects of the show, and he seemed to play Hedwig as a pretty happy character despite the bitterness and sadness of the story.
The 2nd show with MCH, it took me a while to get into it, because despite the make up and wig, I still could see MCH, and at the time I only knew MCH as Dexter. But after a few songs I forgot all that, and it was just Hedwig. MCH was definitely still a man in a dress, he was the manliest Hedwig, but he was fantastic as well. I didn’t know he had a musical theater background either, so I was impressed. I cried at Midnight Radio, again…MCH was still funny when Hedwig was funny, but he played Hedwig differently than NPH, more emotional and sad about life. NPH had more energy, or flamboyance than MCH, but maybe MCH is a more realistic portrayal of Hedwig, since Hedwig is really a forced transgender woman, based on his living situation, and not truly transgender in a sense that he felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body. I feel like Hedwig would still have some manly characteristics despite being forced to live as a woman now. Jason thought MCH was better than NPH.
But then there was JCM! I seriously cannot believe I got to see the original Hedwig. O.M.G. I feel so thankful, and like my life is complete. God, just, so awesome. So a few weeks before our show JCM hurt his knee during a show, and was replaced for a week by MCH again so he could heal, and I happened to convince my friend Emily to see it when she was in NY. I was sad she didn’t get to see JCM, but she loved MCH. Then I convinced another friend, Anthony, to see it, and he did – the day before we were going to JCM. He texted a few things about the show that I didn’t really follow because at the time I had no idea JCM was performing injured, in a knee brace. So the show we saw was a bit different than what JCM was doing before the injury, but it was still phenomenal, and funny, and fantastic. JCM is my favorite, I’m not sure anyone could top him in my opinion. The injury was written into the script, with the story that Hedwig had gotten Nancy Kerrigan-ed by a man in a Michael C Hall mask, or at least, she thought it was a mask LOL! Much of the show was performed while sitting in a stool, and Yitzak had to bring Hedwig a box to rest his leg on, which when he forgot, earned him the wrath of Hedwig. JCM’s Hedwig was bitter and angry but still funny and likable. The jokes have been updated with different names (like John Mayer instead of Phil Collins, etc) and there are some new bits special for the Broadway production, but the show is very on script compared to the movie, same lines with the same inflection. However, JCM ad-libbed a lot more than the other 2, with his show actually going 2o minutes longer. Apparently James Franco was in the audience with us, which JCM mentioned in the show in one of his ad-libbed speeches. I cried at the beginning, again, because…JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL AS HEDWIG!! And I cried during Midnight Radio, again. God, it was just so fantastic.
There were 2 more Hedwigs before the show closed on Broadway, but they are taking it on the road, so here’s hoping I’ll get to see it a few more times with some more interesting actors. Surely it’ll go to Toronto, if not Buffalo, and I keep joking that I’ll be going to see it in London’s west end once Daniel Radcliff and David Tennant are named as Hedwigs (not joking, better start racking up some credit card airline points).
OH MY GOD I GOT TO SEE HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH ON BROADWAY THREE TIMES INCLUDING ONCE WITH JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL!!!! HOLY CRAAAAAP.