BWW Interview: Chad-Alan Carr And Lindsay Bretz-Morgan of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH at HMAC Stage On Herr
If you're looking for something to do this Memorial Day weekend, check out Hedwig and the Angry Inch. This rock musical tells a story written by John Cameron Mitchell through the lyrics and music of Stephen Trask. Originally performed off-Broadway, the story touches on a wide range of themes and emotions to engage and challenge the audience. Hedwig and the Angry Inch comes to Harrisburg this Memorial Day weekend. Put together a live band, amazing acting, and breath-taking vocals, and this will be a show you do not want to miss. This production, at HMAC Stage on Herr stars Chad-Alan Carr as Hedwig and Lindsay Bretz-Morgan as Yitzhak.
BWW: Tell us a little about yourself and your role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Chad-Alan Carr: I am a musical theatre geek as a career, and I am currently reprising the title role in Hedwig And The Angry Inch. It is by far the hardest role I have ever played in my career.
Lindsay Bretz-Morgan: Well, my name is Lindsay Bretz-Morgan, and I'm playing Yitzhak in the show. I've been doing theatre since I was 8 years old, went on to study it in college, and it's still a huge part of my life. The first time I saw Hedwig I was in college and Anthony Rapp was performing the title role in Pittsburgh. I immediately fell in love with the show and hoped to do it someday. I met Chad doing Rocky Horror at HMAC 5 years ago, and we both agreed that we needed to do the show together. The rest is history.
BWW: I understand that you both performed in this show in 2014. How has your experience of your character changed between then and now?
Chad-Alan Carr: OMG well, I am definitely older and not near as pretty as I used to be LOL. Re-learning all the monologues in the show has definitely been harder this time around. The music came back to me quickly, but the lines are tough because it is so much for one actor. Lindsay is amazing on back-up vocals and helps me out a lot when I get lost in the moment and forget where I am.
Lindsay Bretz-Morgan: I feel like, in my own life, these past four years have been the most challenging, emotionally, that I've ever experienced and that is definitely coming through into my character. I fell the hardest in love and also felt the most heartbreak imaginable. I thought I truly found my other half of which Hedwig talks about, and then came to find that I still hadn't found it. Just like our characters, there's always room to grow, and these life experiences have definitely helped me bring more to the role of Yitzhak.
BWW: Tell us a little about the role of identity in the story.
Chad-Alan Carr: I think that we as humans are always struggling with identity actually. Who are we? Who are we supposed to be? Who do others want us to be or how do they prefer we behave or speak or dress or vote or whatever? The story of Hedwig expresses a lot of that. It's finding oneself yes, but also finding our other half...our person...to make us whole...or finding that we aren't meant to be...whole.
Lindsay Bretz-Morgan: Identity in Hedwig isn't referring to identifying with a gender or a race. It's about identifying with an emotion. It's identifying with glam rock and the "freaks" who sang it because being a freak means you identify with being different and loving everything and everyone for who they are without judging. It's about identifying with a lost soul...with a hopeless romantic...it's about identifying with your darkest and deepest self without placing a label.
BWW: Hedwig's life and history explores a number of difficult topics including gender and sexuality, communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall, complicated and forbidden loves and betrayal. What themes do you think will most resonate with the audience and why?
Chad-Alan Carr: I think gender and sexuality will resonate most, but I hope that by the end of the show, they see a journey that many lovers and artists go through, and I hope that they see compassion and sorrow and forgiveness in the story. I hope most of all that it just makes everyone think...after. Open your mind and enjoy it and let it be thought-provoking afterward.
Lindsay Bretz-Morgan: Honestly, all of these topics are going to resonate because there's a lot of stuff going on in the world right now. Just this month Ontario issued its first non-binary birth certificate. Trump wants a wall. Divorce rates are the highest they've ever been, and relationships are tough...really tough. I think people can relate to all of these things. We live in a world where anything is possible, yet there are a ton of unfair rules and limits and guidelines placed on us which make things harder to achieve. Hopefully Hedwig gives people that extra "push" to not only be themselves but to embrace themselves and use that to their best ability to tackle anything in life. Being comfortable in your own skin is half the battle.
BWW: How does rock music suit the story that Hedwig tells?
Chad-Alan Carr: Wait..this is rock music? Just kidding...honestly there are so many styles of music in the show that it really is the star of the show...well that and the incredible text. Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell created something so very ground-breaking and yet also still very timely.
Lindsay Bretz-Morgan: Rock music is out there. It's raw. It doesn't always make sense...but it makes you feel good. It takes risks. These are all things that Hedwig displays. At one point in the show Hedwig completely loses it. I can't imagine any other style of music depicting someone's downward spiral.
BWW: In your opinion, what is the most powerful song in the show and why?
Chad-Alan Carr: "Origin Of Love". Hands down, it is the most powerful song in the show. It is based on Aristophanes' speech from Plato's Symposium and is truly the essence of the story. We are all searching for our other half. The person we are meant to be with.'
Lindsay Bretz-Morgan: I would have to say "Wicked Little Town" because of the lyrics and because it's sung twice-showing off two very different sides of Hedwig. In both the soft-toned original and the rock style reprise it really shows the vulnerability of the character.
BWW: What is the most challenging aspect of the show for you as an actor?
Chad-Alan Carr: Aside from the script pretty much being just one giant monologue interspersed with songs, the most challenging part of this show for me is to not over-sing. When you have a rock band behind you blasting incredibly loud, it is hard not to 'screlt' your face off, which obviously isn't a good idea. LOL. But it is the hardest role I have ever played for many reasons.
Lindsay Bretz-Morgan: For me Yitzhak is extremely challenging because of the physicality. I'm used to playing very bold characters like Miss Adelaide or Sally Bowles where I'm commanding the stage with big bold characterizations and movements and styles. Yitzhak is not only reserved but very overshadowed and knocked down by Hedwig. As an actor, it becomes difficult to stay inactive and subservient without seeming too "boring" or "lost." Yitzhak is so vital to the show and has some kickass harmonies and solos in the songs but has hardly any lines. My most important job is to stay focused and to give Hedwig the support she needs throughout the show.
BWW: One silly question-if you started a rock band, what would you call it?
Chad-Alan Carr: I Can't...I Have Rehearsal
Lindsay Bretz-Morgan: Hmmm...I feel like I would want to think this through better. But for the moment I'll say Speed Demons
BWW: It's a busy time of year-why should people take time out of their schedules to see this show and this particular production of this show?
Chad-Alan Carr: Because we rock it hard obviously! This show was an off-Broadway hit starring one of its writers, John Cameron Mitchell, years before the Broadway version starring Neil Patrick Harris, Taye Diggs, and others. But like the original workshops and off-Broadway production, it works best in an intimate setting. I think people will really love it here once again at HMAC Stage On Herr where you can drink and order food and enjoy live multi-media entertainment with a live band and actors. I think Hedwig embodies what HMAC is all about too, so I know HMAC fans will love it, and we are happy to bring it back here again to such an eclectic venue.
Lindsay Bretz-Morgan: Well A) it's Memorial Day weekend so people should make a day out of Harrisburg-go walk around for a little and then come relax with a drink or two or three while watching Hedwig and the Angry Inch. If you didn't get a chance to see it 4 years ago when we last did it (or even if you did) it's better this time around. Vocals are tighter, actors and musicians are more seasoned and the audience will be able to relate even more. C) There's a full restaurant and bar to enjoy while watching the show. How many theatres have THAT?
BWW: Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers about this production?
Chad-Alan Carr: If you like the movie version, you will love this original stage version just as much. The biggest difference is all the characters in the movie version are played by two actors and the live band on stage. It is pretty cool storytelling and really good music. Come see us and take a photo with me after the show. Cheers! #txdivacarr
Lindsay Bretz-Morgan: Don't miss it. If you don't know Hedwig and the Angry Inch, you are missing out. It's beautiful. It's poignant. It's strange. It's fun. It's sad. It's everything.
Get your tickets before it's too late. The show runs at 8pm May 24, 25, and 26. Visit www.harrisburgarts.com to reserve your tickets.