By Danielle Boise; Photo by Joan Marcus
After a couple of days of processing this highly intense musical I feel like I finally have the words to sit down and discuss all the nuances of this beloved oddity of unconventional theatrical production. Nearly two decades after making its Off-Broadway debut in 1998, it still stands the test of time, and is forever etched Hedwig and the Angry Inch into pop culture history. Euan Morton, as Hedwig is a pure genius and Hannah Corneau in the role of Yitzhak adds a quietly understated layer of resilience to the emotionally complex role.
At first glance, on the surface level, Hedwig comes off as satire at its best, through precise comical timing, with biting off-the-cuff remarks that are both painful and incredibly insightful. Watching how much Hedwig yearns acceptance and love, while not able to fathom her core personality is hard to process in the midst of an all times consuming, incredibly dark and twisted loved story with Yitzhak.
Her need for the spotlight, any spotlight is ultimately her undoing, as she still relishes the physical attachments of her husband Yitzhak. Growing up unaccepted and unloved she doesn’t know how to give him the love he deserves. She slowly learns over the course of the 90-minute musical therapy session , not only how to accept herself but also her husband. The final moments of Hedwig is one filled with so much love that it brought tears to my eyes.
What I loved about this production is that it made the audience members a central part of the show by interacting with them. The intriguing part for me was the minor updates that modernized the script, from adding references like TMZ to adding all the local Atlanta landmarks. For instance, when Hedwig is referencing Tommy’s performance the same night, right down the street at Philips Arena, to her walking around Little Five Points and down Metropolitan Street.
I will not lie; Hedwig and the Angry Inch will not be for everyone. It is a quirky love story, but a love story that ultimately is about accepting yourself and the world around you. It’s hysterical, at times biting and inappropriate in the best possible way. It puts everything right out there for the audience to grasp onto, and they did.