BWW Review: HEDWIG & THE ANGRY INCH National Tour at Durham Performing Arts Center
Hedwig & the Angry Inch is a stage musical that first debuted at the Jane Street Theatre off-Broadway on February 14th, 1998, where it ran for 857 performances after closing on April 9th, 2000. An independent film adaptation directed by and starring co-creator/original Hedwig John Cameron Mitchell was released in 2001, but April 22nd, 2014 was the night Hedwig would finally make her Broadway debut. That production originally starred Neil Patrick Harris in the title role, followed by Andrew Rannells, Michael C. Hall, John Cameron Mitchell, Darren Criss, and Taye Diggs. The production won 4 Tony Awards (including Best Revival of a Musical), and had a successful run of 507 performances after closing on September 13th, 2015.
Hedwig & the Angry Inch tells the story of an East German transgender who moves to America after a botched sex change operation. Actor Euan Morton takes on the title role where he gets to do what seems to be the ultimate actor's showcase. He not only transforms into the character, but also gets the majority of the show to himself as Hedwig performs in concert, recounting her life story: childhood abuse, a disastrous marriage to an American soldier and, after being plunked down alone in Kansas, a doomed romantic and songwriting partnership with a Christian teen who becomes a rock star. Overall, Morton absolutely gives a one of a kind performance in the role, and has great chemistry with the audience as they become a part of the show. While the character of Hedwig's loyal new husband, Yitzhak doesn't have as much stage time to himself, actress Hannah Corneau still stands out in the character's big moments. The plot conceived by John Cameron Mitchell very cleverly unfolds like a novel added brilliantly with Stephen Trask's score, which in my opinion is one of the best rock scores ever written for a musical.
Under the direction of Michael Mayer, lighting designer Kevin Adams displays some of the most (not only in terms of quality, but also quantity) impressive lighting I've ever seen in a theatrical production. It almost feels like you're at a real rock concert. While the show doesn't display a lot of costume changes, the costumes designed by Arianne Phillips along with Mike Potter's wigs and makeup still do such a great job of transforming the actors into their characters. Benjamin Pearcy for 59 Productions creates some visually stunning projections and the animation designed by John Bair from Phosphene offers some eye-popping imagery.
Whether you've heard of the musical before or not, you should definitely give this national touring production a chance. I can guarantee that this show will have you laughing, moved, and entertained all at the same time. Hedwig is currently in Durham through February 5th.
For more information regarding the tour, please visit: