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BWW Review: HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH at Hongik University Art Center Grand Theater, 'The Story of Hedwig'


BWW Review: HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH at Hongik University Art Center Grand Theater, 'The Story of Hedwig'

People jumping around, loud rock music blasting, people on stage throwing water onto the audience... From first glance, you would have thought that this was a rock concert, however, you are mistaken! This is actually no rock concert or any concert at all, it is actually the curtain call of a musical. One of Korea's most beloved shows, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH has come back for a new production with upgraded clothing and new actors joining the company. The captivating Hedwig returned to Korea on August 6th at Hongik University Art Center Grand Theater.

For every production, the company of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH gather attention as people wonder about who will perform the role of Hedwig. When this year's production was announced, many were surprised because a total of 5 actors were cast for the role of Hedwig. With actors from the original company such as Man-seok Oh and Moon-seong Jeung, relatively new actors such as Dong-seok Jeon and Soho Yoon were also cast for the show, causing people to be intrigued. Not only after that, a few weeks after the first show, the production company of Hedwig announced that they will have few special performances in English performed by Michael Lee. Many were excited about this news, as it will give the Korean audience to experience the show in the original language.

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is one of Korea's most popular shows, celebrating its 15TH-year Korean production this year. It has many records such as being known for having an all standing ovation for every 2150 performances they had so far. Not only that, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is definitely one of the musicals that have the highest attendance rate and audiences coming back to see the show multiple times. In 2016, they announced a "new makeup" production with a change in the interpretation and structure of the show. For this year's production, the company decided to upgrade the wardrobe of Hedwig, giving each actor playing the role of Hedwig a different style.

When I first watched the show, the music was what captivated me. The Angry Inch band that is present on the stage during the entire show plays an important role in making the story of Hedwig touring more realistic. Also, as most of the songs in HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH consist of rock music, actually seeing them play live was exciting. Also, just like the movie, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH the musical has a sing-along part in 'Wig in a Box,' actively asking the audience to join.

The show has several audience-interactive parts such as the overture when Hedwig appears. Unlike most shows where the actor steps out on stage from the wings, Hedwig appears from the audience entrance with a cameraman following her. As the actor passes the corridors of the seats, he grabs hands with people, sometimes blowing kisses. Not only that, during 'Sugar Daddy,' there is a specific dance movement called "the carwash" where the actor steps on stage and walks toward a male audience seat. Then he would step on the armrest, hovering above the male's face and swaying his hips. However, the most audience-interactive part is definitely the curtain call of the musical. The curtain call of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is well known for being an extension of the show, with actors and the audience jumping around. Water gets sprayed everywhere from the actors and in Korean productions, the actor playing the role of Hedwig takes off his customized Hedwig shirt and throws it to the audience. I think the greatest charm of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is that not only the show itself is amazing, but at the curtain call, you can genuinely feel the connection and communication of the actors and audience.

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is a show that acts like a chameleon. The reason why I mentioned that HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is like a chameleon is that just like a chameleon, you cannot point out one color to define the musical. At first glance, anybody could think that this show is an exciting rock musical with extravagant wigs and clothing. However, when you actually listen to the lyrics and pay attention to Hedwig's story, you realize that there is much more to HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH. Personally, I think the story of Hedwig is something that everybody should consider and put more thought into. That is why I hope that HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH has more future productions in Korea. I recommend going to see the show, enjoying the exceptional performance that the actors put on, and then thinking about the story of Hedwig.

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH has its final performance in Seoul on November 3rd. Then starting from December 21st to the 29th, they are touring to Busan, performing at Sohyang Theatre Sinhancard Hall. Tickets start at 55,000 KRW and can be purchased online or at the box office. Do not miss the opportunity to meet the captivating Hedwig, the heartbreaking Tommy, the amazing Yitzhak, and the talented Angry Inch Band.

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