BWW Review: HEDWIG Rocks The Paramount with Heart and Soul
When you have a show that is so focused on one character, it's always interesting to see the different takes different actors give to the role. A prime example of this is John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask's masterpiece, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" currently playing at the Paramount Theatre. Over the years I've seen five different Hedwigs. Some accentuate the outrageousness of the role, some the comedy but, other than Mitchell's own film version, have I ever seen a more tragically honest rendition than that of Euan Morton's performance.
Now I should start by saying, Hedwig is not for everyone. What you're in for is a punk rock concert from Hedwig (Morton) and her band, the Angry Inch, as she takes you through her life from a young boy in East Berlin to his relationship with an American soldier who convinces him to have a sex change operation so they can marry (an operation that is botched leaving Hedwig with a one inch mound of flesh, hence the Angry Inch), through her life in America and her relationship with a teenage boy, Tommy, who would eventually become a big rock star using Hedwig's songs. Well here we are in the Paramount and Hedwig has made it in here for one night to tell her side of the story while Tommy is nearby at Century Link Field giving a sold out concert.
The music is loud and in your face, the jokes are crude and hypersexual and Hedwig pulls no punches. So no, not for everyone. In fact I saw a few people take off after only a few songs. And for those people I feel sorry, as this show is a visceral emotional journey that, if you let it, can invade your soul. You just may have to step outside your comfort zone. And for those that understand how beautiful the show really is already, and may feel they've seen it (as we've had several productions in town over the years) let me just tell you that this is a tour of the new revival of the show that was recently on Broadway. Sure it's the same story and music but enough is different (especially the setting in this larger theater for Hedwig's concert and the brilliant staging and projections involved) that this is not the same hold Hedwig and deserves another viewing.
Morton is absolutely stellar in the role. His voice is as flawless as ever and the honesty in his portrayal is superb making the journey crystal clear. And as Hedwig's current husband and perennial whipping boy Yitzhak, Hannah Corneau is awesome. A gorgeous voice and handles the emotions of Yitzhak beautifully without saying much at all.
So if you're willing to give Hedwig a deeper look or if you already know of it's glory then the show will not disappoint. And so with my three letter rating system I give "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" at the Paramount a rockin' YAY. But if you're looking for a cute little musical, then you should really look elsewhere.
"Hedwig and the Angry Inch" performs at the Paramount Theatre through December 18th. For tickets or information visit the Seattle Theatre Group at www.stgpresents.org.