(photo cred: @HedwigonBway)
It’s so exciting to walk down the streets of Westwood and see posters for my favorite musicals. Last year there were Hamilton posters up and it was surreal. But seeing Hedwig and the Angry Inch around town was super exciting because I GOT TICKETS TO SEE IT!
My existence as a theater geek with no experience in musical theater was finally justified last night when I saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch starring Darren Criss and Lena Hall at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles.
It crossed off so many things off my bucket list. I finally saw a Broadway show! I got my first Playbill! I saw a professional musical! I followed my dreams and I traveled to Hollywood to see the show! I saw Darren Criss!
Being a west coast theater geek who actually rarely sees shows (I’m trying to change that), I had a really emotional moment when I sat down in the theater and stared at my Playbill. I think the usher even saw me trying to pull myself together. It was an incredible feeling to be sitting in a theater about to witness a real Broadway show after years of wondering what my favorite shows were like live.
It was very interesting how Hedwig was performed with no intermission. It was also interesting how it only had one set! It was more concert-like, which I feel was one of the performance aspects that made it a completely different explanation of the story compared to the movie.
That is one thing that I would like to jump right into. I really liked the movie. I was very curious about the musical because I the name seemed so peculiar, and I kept hearing about it because of Neil Patrick Harris’ revival. So when I watched the movie, I was completely blown away. I never would have guessed that the name Hedwig and the Angry Inch was for a musical about such topics. I thought it was gritty and hard to watch, and depicted Hedwig’s life as tragic and painful and full of suffering.
But the musical completely blew me away because it was completely different! I thought Darren’s version of Hedwig was actually very glamorous! I think my favorite costume was when he wore the jacket of hair with the large, pink wig, because it just showed a different personality of Hedwig that I didn’t see in the movie, but translated really well in the musical.
My favorite song from Hedwig is “The Origin of Love”, and let me tell you, I thought the entire performance was amazing and I cried. It was the second song of the show so I was a little bummed that it happened super quickly, but I oh my goodness, the visual effects were amazing! Especially when Hedwig sang about the giants, the outline of giant green feet around Hedwig was amzing and really put the setting into perspective. I actually found a new meaning to the song! At first, I knew it was about humans being four-legged creatures who were cut in half, and that’s why we have this idea of finding our “other half,” but when Hedwig was sitting behind the curtain for visual effects, there were floating circles on the screen, and Hedwig said “Last time I saw you, we had just split in two. / You were looking at me, and I was looking at you.” And I was like OH MY GOSH SHE’S TALKING ABOUT CELLS! EGGS! FERTILIZED CELLS WITHIN A HUMAN BODY! And suddenly, my mind exploded about how “The Origin of Love” is not about a mythical land where humans used to not seek their “other half”, it’s about how humans were all once the same organism in people’s bodies!
I loved the updated references in this production. Hedwig said “I’m a nasty woman” (AKA #VOTE), and name-dropped Lea Michele, Nick Jonas, and Scream Queens. I also loved how she actually went into the audience and danced on top of people and kissed a man. I thought that was something only Neil Patrick Harris did at the Tony Awards! I’ll forever spend my life in the Mezzanine seats because again, college student, but I still loved how interactive Hedwig was with the crowd and I really felt like I was there at Hedwig’s show, learning about her life and feeling her pain and triumph.
And Yitzhak! My Yitzhak. Lena Hall has such a beautiful voice! I wish her character was a little more prominent like in the movie, because in the musical we didn’t really get too deep into the fact that all of the band was here undocumented (because Hedwig ripped up their passports, or Yitzhak’s, especially). And in the movie you also get to see how much Hedwig feels threatened by Yitzhak, but that’s okay, because Yitzhak’s transformation by the end of the show is amazing and I loved it. I am really interested in seeing how Lena Hall plays Hedwig! I wish I could see every show but I’m just a wee college student who can barely afford to buy bagels here and there.
Another thing that I’m still in awe of are the moments of silence that happened during the show. It was so dramatic in tense, right before “Midnight Radio” and I don’t think I have ever been in a room with that many people who were dead quiet and at the same time able to feel the character’s emotions! It’s incredible how Darren could hold the entire audience in complete silence for multiple times throughout the show! I love theater!
Another thing that was really funny but not funny in a heckler way (I think?) is that when Hedwig asked the audience to describe her hair, someone shouted “Super mega awesome foxy hot!” which is a reference to A HARRY POTTER MUSICAL, which is what I binge watched over the summer, and what Darren Criss wrote and starred when he was in college in Michigan for this theater company Starkid.
Overall, it was an amazing show! I am so impressed with the performances and I am so freaking happy that I got to see this show while it was in LA! The photo down there is me taking a last-minute selfie with a poster before I had to jump on the UCLA bus to go back. I couldn’t go to the stage door because then the bus would have left me and I would have had to find my way back to UCLA in the middle of the night from Hollywood BY MYSELF with no phone charger. But the entire experience of seeing Hedwig and the Angry Inch was so amazing and I’m so incredibly happy that I was able to go and see this great performance. I feel like this experience validated my extreme love for musical theater and made me feel whole and complete, and I am unbelievably happy to have had this experience. Shoutout to UCLA ResLife for organizing this! This is honestly going down as like one of the top moments of my life!
All of these amazing photography shots came from my Instagram @hyperbolicnatalie so if you would like more amazing photography skills (special thanks to my shaky hands from excitement and anxiety) don’t hesitate to follow me.
This is my honorary stage door photo with Darren. “IF YOU GOT SOME SUGAR FOR ME, SUGAR DADDY BRING IT HOME!”