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Hedwig and the Angry Inch

a Musical
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA MUSICAL
by John Cameron Mitchell; music and lyrics by Stephen Trask

COMPANY : Actor's Express [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Actor's Express [WEBSITE]
ID# 2652

SHOWING : June 19, 2008 - July 26, 2008

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Atlanta, She’s Back!!!! Artistic Director Freddie Ashley directs an anniversary reinvention of the smash rock hit about an internationally ignored rock singer, Hedwig, and her search for stardom and love.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Freddie Ashley
Music Director Linda Uzelac
Dan/Bass Dan Bauman
Jen/Drums Jen Lowe
Yitzhak/Guitar Angela Motter
Mark/Keyboards/Banjo Mark W. Schroeder
Clint/Guitar Clint Sowell
Hedwig Craig Waldrip
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

Hedwig is Hot....
by a thespian in tears
Sunday, July 6, 2008
4.5
I know I shouldn't have, but I couldn't help but read the reviews on this website about "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" before I went to see it. But, I still tried to remain unbiased, as I had never seen the movie and knew precious little about the show other than what I had heard around the theater water cooler, but it was hard to not be "looking" for some of what I had read....And, it is true that they were parts that were lost in translation, or should I say with Craig Waldrip's thick German accent, maybe it was a sound issue, but in any event, I found myself wishing that I could hit the rewind button like on that infamous "8 track tape player," but there isn't one in live theater. That's unfortunate too because this is such a really powerful show, and it was hard to have missed any part of it. But that being said, I really did love this show. I loved the band, each member was extremely talented in their own right, and I loved Angela Motter as Yitzhak though I swear on a stack of falsies I didn't know "his/her" secret until... AND when I bothered to read the program.

But, I really loved Craig Waldrip as Hedwig overall....He has an truly beautiful voice, and I am a sucker for beautiful men's voices....and equally beautiful legs that looked better than ANYONE else I've seen in fishnets and high heels. :-) I also really enjoyed our seats, as they were right by the catwalk next to the "pole" and that was a prime location. You could see the fabulous expressions on Craig's face throughout as each layer of Hedwig was being revealed. His eyes were the most stunning to watch as they were not only full of glitter, but of each emotion he was feeling. I even got even a little emotional myself...Yes, vit's true, I am in love with "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and am an official stars, stripes and stilettos member of the "her" fan club. And I do recommend experiencing it "live," but I also plan to watch the movie for myself as well....just to see what it is all about...
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Historical accuracy police by bellsplayer
8-track tape players didn't have rewind buttons. Inside the case was a single loop of tape which pulled from the center of the spool and wound around the outside. Rewinding would have resulted in a tangled mass of tape within the case. But then again, it was a real pain in the patootie to mount a reel-to-reel player in the Duster and lp's tended to skip.

jd
historical inaccuracies aside by mooniemcmoonster
i believe that the mention of rewinding the 8 track was a specific reference to the 8 track mentioned in one of the songs, and not an actual yearning to rewind an 8 track tape.
by a thespian in tears
Yep, Moonie, you're right, that's exactly what I meant. Thanks....
by a thespian in tears
And I'm in my 40's, so I do remember the "joys" of 8 tracks myself...;-)
the best show ever!
by feather
Friday, July 4, 2008
5.0
omg! What a fabutastic show! Omg, Craig is the best hedwig ever. He takes Hedwig to new levels. And the director adds so many great new ideas! Plus the band is totally HOTT. Wow, mark schroeder is sooooo SEXXY! i want to have his babies!!!! omg!!!!!!! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Dis-Jointed
by Dedalus
Friday, June 27, 2008
2.5
Usually, whenever a theatre re-mounts a production I had reviewed before, I indulge my slothful side and just re-post (with some edits) my original comments. In the case of Actors Express’s 2003 and 2008 productions of John Cameron Mitchell’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” however, there is a slight problem. I really liked the 2003 production. But the 2008? Not so much!

In 2003, I structured my review as a series of apparently disjointed thoughts and observations, leading to a conclusion keeping with the “be-true-to-yourself” theme of the play. For the sake of continuity, I will reprise that motif.

Okay, here are some odd thoughts.

Since 2003, I’ve seen the movie of “Hedwig” often and enjoyed it every time. Obviously, my current displeasure has little to do with the script and score.

The play is essentially a monologue and concert, as Hedwig prances and performs for us, letting layers of protection peel away as he reveals more for us about his history. So, what happens if we don’t like Hedwig, if the actor playing her doesn’t become her so much as wear her like an ill-fitting wig?

Seeing this the day after seeing a production of “1776” really makes me appreciate the range of Musical Theatre, the range of styles and subjects that appeal (or at least should appeal) to me. Hedwig’s star-spangled hot pants actually made a thematic bridge between the shows. But, like others, I missed the garish “Berlin Wall” cape.

In 2003, the production was very environmental, making even the “gallery” seats seem like part of the sleazy bar hosting the concert. In 2008, we’re given a treatment similar to last fall’s “Last Five Years,” a long playing area squeezed between two bleacheresque audience blocks. It looks and feels like a set, not like a dive. The “Back Door” leading to an alley is unconvincing and weak. The lack of alcohol doesn’t help. This joint is just a Stage Set, now!

Like 2003, 2008 boasts a wonderful band, playing Stephen Trask’s music like they were born to it. The music is what saves this year’s mounting.


I’m sorry, but I have to drop this stylistic pretense and come right out with it. I really disliked Craig Waldrip’s performance in the title role. Rather than the “slip of a girly boy” of the previous production (and the movie), we’re given a too-young, too-paunchy, too-muscular actor who, for me, never convinced, never appealed, and never connected. Mr. Waldrip chose to play all the dialog scenes with a too-thick comic opera German accent that was often unintelligible, rendering far too much of John Cameron Mitchell’s wonderful dialog inert, making too many of his witty puns and caustic jokes, too many of the local and topical references not only fall flat, but miss the Deutschmark entirely. More critically, the accent disappears entirely when Mr. Waldrip recreates other characters, making them obvious actor schtick rather than moments rising from the in-concert concept. I found him totally lacking in credibility and charisma. And the final self-accepting moments never come – the song says she’s come to terms with herself, but Mr. Waldrip was singularly unconvincing conveying that sub-text.

It’s a shame, because Mr. Waldrip has a strong singing voice, and what should be a compelling way with the songs. But, when we can’t understand a word he says in the climatic description of his history with Tommy Gnosis, how can we feel anything at the not-moving-enough song he sings afterwards. If we cannot understand him when he’s talking to his band, how can we understand the emotional stripping away that accompanies the final two numbers? If we don’t understand his interaction with his “husband” Yitzhak, what are we to make of Yitzhak’s angry exit or his/her triumphant return? It’s a telling point that I feel compelled to use “his” rather than “her” in my observations.

This was definitely a disjointed production, with the music rocking but the monologues sinking. The supporting band, as said above, was truly wonderful (I’m definitely a Mark Schroeder fan – he can make his keyboards dance -- and it was good to see him onstage here).

Admittedly, the opening night audience loved this production much more than I did. But this is a time I could not share their enthusiasm, especially when the 5-year-old memory is still fresh of Mark Salyer who didn’t portray Hedwig so much as inhabit her. Mr. Waldrip never struck me as anything more than a miscast man in unflattering wig and hot-pants.

I stubbornly refused to wave my arms during the final number or feign appreciation by standing at the end. Maybe that was a bit harsh, maybe it drew unwanted attention to myself, but at least it was true to what I felt and how I reacted to his particular Dis-Joint.

Rock on? Not this time…

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)

6/27/2008 Addendum: Since posting this to TheatreBuzz last week, I’ve had a few factual errors pointed out to me (which I’ve sneakily fixed above). More to the point, last night I re-watched the movie. Again, I found it funny, moving, and compelling, and was even moved to wave my arms in the air during the last number, even though I was sitting alone in our family room. Well, my lovely and talented spouse did walk in at one point, then left with a puzzled expression on her marvelous face, but that’s another story altogether.

John Cameron Mitchell in the movie has an admitted edge over anyone else playing the part – he wrote it, after all, and played it for years on stage. Still, he captured that ambiguous Which-side-of-the-wall-am-I-on sexuality that eluded Mr. Waldrip. His accent was soft and gentle, the product of a character who had spent most of his adult life speaking English. He was very good at relishing the camp aspects of the role (as did Mr. Waldrip), but he also wasn’t afraid to lay his vulnerable side on display, even his unpleasantly possessive/obsessive side. For me, Mr. Waldrip never transcended the man-in-drag roles that dominated his bio.

He also comes across as far too young. A character born when the Berlin Wall was erected would now be in his late forties, and it is this lost-youth aspect of the character that also eluded the young-faced Mr. Waldrip. The program notes specify no year for the goings-on, so the assumption remains that we’re in this Dive “Today.” Of course, this would work as a ‘90’s period piece (which, I daresay, is a tactic productions will almost have to take before too long), but that doesn’t absolve them of acknowledging the “past his prime” nature of the character.

Another odd choice made in this production, was the Yitzhak wig. The script and movie specifically call for Yitzak to be a bit covetous of the “Hedwig persona,” as embodied in the wig. By having a black wig in full view for the entire play sorta kinda over-telegraphs that idea, but, at the same time, it undercuts it by being so obviously not-Hedwig’s. I’d be curious as to why that particular choice was made.

Anyway, I may make another visit before the end of the run, just on the off-chance my reaction was a result of being too tired on a too-warm Sunday Afternoon. I may have more to add to this later. Lift up your hands!

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Hot and Tight
by Mama Alma
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
5.0
For my money, there is no actor in Atlanta who can stand on his pins and just flat out sing with total abandon better than Craig Waldrip. As Hedwig he proves he can do it in six inch heels, a five pound blond wig and a star spangled jumpsuit. The best seats are by the runway, preferably near the pole (thanks for the tip, Freddie!), but Hedwig roams the audience, so there's really not a bad seat in the house.

Angela Motter reprises the role of Yitzhak, Hedwig's long-suffering husband and is very funny in her own right, The Angry Inch is hot (especially Dan Bauman on bass), and Linda Uzelak's musical direction is top notch. The performance I saw was supposedly a dress rehearsal, but it sure felt tight to me.

Freddie Ashley proves again and again he can find fresh aspects to material I thought I knew. Loved Hedwig, loved the music, loved the show.

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Almost perfect!
by g8grrl
Monday, June 23, 2008
4.5
What a killer show! Musically its perfect. The band totally rockz out. I loved the walkway. Criag is a fabulous and gives everything he has. A minor issue is the choice to make Hedwig obviously transgenerdered. I'm not sure if this is because of Criag or a choice by the director. Keeping Hedwig's sexuality a mystery is more fun. The same thing can be said about Yitzhak. Both are fab performers, so this is a minor issue. I agree with the other reviewer that the band needs to go on tour. They are totally fab! Go see this show! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Transgendered by Girl
There really wasn't a choice whether or not to make Hedwig transgendered - it's a necessity, given the script.

The show was great (in my absolutely unbiased opinion - ha!). I hope that it gets the attention it deserves!
um... by mooniemcmoonster
not to be too graphic, but isn't his being "obviously transgendered" the point of the "angry inch"?
Yeh only by g8grrl
its too obvious Craig's a guy in womens clothing playing a transgendered. Its more fun when you can't guess the origins of the sexuality.
g8grrl by feather
then what does she itch?
There's something here by Dedalus
You know, in her strangely ignorant-of-the-script way, g8grrl seems to have hit on an aspect that was a problem for me in this show. Previous Hedwigs have always been physically ambiguous - yes we know she's been left with an angry inch, but her emotional transition to womanhood was always complete for me. This time though, for me she never transcends the "man in drag" image, which undercuts our empathy with her (to maybe-not-so-cleverly paraphrase Dorothy Parker, There was no "There, There!" there). Yes, she gets the camp bits right (and there's nothing wrong with that), but there should, IMHO, be far more to Hedwig than simple camp. That's what I really missed this time around the pole ...
Go see this show and be ready to rock!
by screensiren
Sunday, June 22, 2008
5.0
Opening night show was absolutely fantastic. The cast and crew of Hedwig and the Angry Inch have worked their magic with this one and I may have to go see it again and again and again... Freddie Ashley and Linda Uzelac did a fantastic job putting this show together! I can't think of any other actor that could do Hedwig more justice than Craig Waldrip. If you've seen him in women's clothing before on stage, you know what I mean... be ready to be mezmerized by his presence. Angela Motter returns to the stage as Yitzhak and shows of her amazing talents as a well rounded triple threat. The band is chock full of seasoned musicians including Dan Bauman, Jen Lowe, Mark Schroeder, and Clint Sowell and they are tight tight tight. In fact, I wish the Angry Inch band would continue to play around town after the show closes, they'd give the rest of the bands a run for their money. Kudos to all involved in putting this show together. Anyone who misses this one will regret it. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
omg by feather
i have a huge crush on mark schroeder. he is such a cutie! i have to go see this!


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