Bonus Review: Hedwig and the Angry Inch Round 2
It’s a common theme amongst Hedwig and the Angry Inch die-hard fans. Affectionately known as “Hed-Heads”, we gather together at live performances of the show as often as we can. Scrunched together at the wobbly tables inside The Boom, we quiz each other on how many times we’ve seen Hedwig, when and where we first saw it, and what number we’re on for witnessing this cast. Counting myself amongst the most dedicated of Hed-Heads, this is a welcome conversation starter.
On this night I sit next to two strangers who quickly become friends and fellow rockers. It’s the fifth weekend of the six week run of Hedwig at The Boom and the vibe in the room is one of nervous anticipation. The two fans and I swap “back in the day” stories about previous runs. Matthew Alvin Brown and Renee Anderson have developed their own cult following in Oklahoma City. The Hedwig fans next to me have a longer history with the show. They reminisce about performances past at The HiLo Club, and lament about being too young to get into The Boom during previous productions. We chat. We share mozzarella sticks. And at 8 PM, all rhetoric is silenced as the show begins and Hedwig draws us into her world yet again.
Brown reminds the longtime fans, and teaches the brand new ones, what it means to love Hedwig. She’s a vivid character with a story unlike any other in musical theatre. And this show isn’t a by-the book musical in any sense. Brown interacts with the audience, and the jokes and commentary change from night to night. Hedwig is never the exact same show twice. It’s alive and raw, painful and heart-wrenching, and it’s always a surprise. It’s what brings the Hed-Heads back again and again.
This production has evolved since opening night. The lengthy run is a blessing for this cast who has been given the opportunity to delve into their characters and develop the show organically. What results is a flowing rhythm and a hilarious, timely and moving theatrical experience. Any opening night jitters have since vanished, and the cast is comfortable now.
This cast of extremely talented actors and musicians are serious about their craft. They’re also serious about this show, and this is not their first time to the party. The Boom can at times be a tough venue, with some particularly brazen audience members getting belligerent and disrespectful. The waiters can also be disruptive, especially during a show that is as intense and non-stop as Hedwig. Brown and Anderson remain the utmost professionals, working their self-defense and subtle retorts into the performance. They handle the situations as they arise and never break character.
True fans would follow Hedwig and this rock ‘n roll cast from here to Berlin and back again. We’re here because we love theatre, and we’re here because we love this deeply human character. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is not supposed to be a shiny, perfect piece of musical theatre. Don’t believe everything Broadway tells you. What Brown and company have created is full of life. It’s honest and beautiful. It rips your heart out, and it’s fresh and new every time, no matter how many times you come back and see it.
If you’ve seen it, you love it. If you don’t love it, you haven’t seen it yet. You have one more weekend to remedy that transgression. Soon, you’ll be proud to call yourself a Hed-Head. You may even get seated next to me. Prepare your answers, because I’ll be asking those important ice breaker questions. We can even share mozzarella sticks.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch at The Boom is on for one more weekend, Februay 28th-March 2nd. Tickets are available at ticketstorm.com and they’re selling fast.