Neil Patrick Harris on HEDWIG: 'I Like the Challenge of Being the Ringmaster'
In an interview in today's UK The Telegraph, Tony nominee Neil Patrick Harris, currently starring in Broadway's Hedwig and the Angry Inch, talks about his role as a drag queen as well as his new film 'A Million Ways to Die in the West' opposite Seth MacFarlane.
"I like the challenge of being the ringmaster and being able to tell people where to look and what to see," Harris says of his role as Hedwig. "That's why I like the emcee gigs as well."
Before now, Harris had never dressed in drag. ("Not even on Halloween," he shares) Yet once he accepted the Broadway gig, he had friends introduce him to drag queens from the reality TV show RuPaul's Drag Race to give him a quick lesson.
"They came over one night and they did all the make-up and brought wigs and let me see kind of what I would look like as a woman," he explains. The actor also reveals how he lost more than 20 pounds for the role, a focused combination of physical exercise and diet. "I thought it was important to change my silhouette, having just done a show where I was really trying to be this alpha male, looking good in Dolce & Gabbana suits as much as possible," he says. "So to change it, I needed to have a different femininity in my postures. And to lose weight helps with that."
Read the interview in full here!
About Hedwig and the Angry Inch:
Neil Patrick Harris' returns to Broadway in the new production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the musical with book by John Cameron Mitchell and music and lyrics by Stephen Trask, directed by Michael Mayer. The limited engagement, featuring Lena Hall(Kinky Boots, lead singer of The Deafening), opened Tuesday, April 22 at the Belasco Theatre (111 West 44th Street).
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH was originally produced by David Binder off off Broadway at Westbeth and then, under the direction of Peter Askin, ran over two years at the Jane Street Theatre beginning in February 1998. The musical won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical and both John Cameron MitchellandStephen Trask won Obies in 2001. It won a 1998 New York Magazine Award and Entertainment Weekly's "Soundtrack of the Year" Award. Time Magazine named HEDWIG the Top Musical of 1998.
The film of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, directed by John Cameron Mitchell, won the Audience Award and Best Director Awards at Sundance. Mitchell won the Best New Director from the National Board of Review, the Gotham Awards, and the LA Critics Society. Stage productions have played for many years in Japan and in 2008, Korea hosted a popular televised Reality Show about the search for a new star to play Hedwig.