If you’ve never seen “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” live on stage, you have a one-night-only chance to experience it at The Queen on Friday, June 8, thanks to Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and Pride Month.
Starring Dan Sanchez as the vibrant, broken, genderqueer hero/storyteller, “Hedwig” is part glam rock concert and part spoken word, a musical memoir of a late 1980s East German immigrant searching for belonging after a botched sex reassignment surgery.
The production originally had a short run in early May at The Milburn Stone Theatre at Cecil College in North East, Maryland. The Wilmington encore wasn’t part of the original plan, but it fits with the city’s Pride Month celebration in the most meta of ways — Sanchez himself is the mayor’s digital and social media manager. (Knowing this will make the localized part of the show at the beginning better, too).
Director Andrew John Mitchell noted that, despite the success of John Cameron Mitchell’s original 1998 production, a 2001 movie, cult status and a hugely successful revival starring Neil Patrick Harris that earned 13 Tony Awards in 2014, people today tend to be less than familiar with “Hedwig.”
So, for those who may fall into that category: It’s interactive theater with a strong LGBTQ theme, it’s hilarious and emotional and sometimes heavy, glitzy and dark and most definitely rock n’ roll. Sanchez captures all of it, along with Ashley Bruce as the long-suffering Yitzhak, Hedwig’s ex-drag queen husband who is pushed into the shadows despite his formidable talent.
“Hedwig” is essentially a two-person show with Hedwig and Yitzhak as the main characters, but it’s also a rock show, with Hedwig & the Angry Inch as the band. The Angry Inch — Music Director Steve Toth with Stephen Tipping, Alex Vallejo and Joe Testa — performs onstage along with them. The music is a definite highlight of the show, with songs like “Sugar Daddy,” “Angry Inch,” and “Wicked Little Town,” that made it an obsession of glam and punk rock enthusiasts in the ‘00s as much as an LGBTQ cult classic.
Admission for “Hedwig” at The Queen is $20, with proceeds benefiting the Light Up The Queen Foundation’s Arts Education Program. Advance tickets may be purchased at lightupthequeen.org/hedwig.