Mom Theatre Blogger: HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman

There’s a new Hedwig or Hed-nig town, as he refers to himself, and he’s making the show his own.

Taye Diggs is now starring in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the 2014 Tony Award winning Best Musical Revival, for a limited 12-week engagement at Broadway’s Belasco Theatre (111 West 44th Street).  It marks his first New York stage role since the 2005 revival of A Soldier’s Play, and his followers are coming out in droves.

Diggs made his Broadway debut in 1994 in the Tony Award-winning revival of Carousel. Soon after, he landed the role of Benny in in the landmark musical Rent, a role he recreated in the 2005 film version. Diggs’ other New York stage credits include Chicago, Wicked, and Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party. His many film and television credits include How Stella Got Her Groove Back,tayediggs Go, Chicago, The Best Man, its follow up The Best Man Holiday, and six seasons on ABC’s hit drama “Private Practice.”

The show was been tweaked for Diggs.  He makes references to real life ex-wife Idina Menzel, and Frozen’s “Let it Go” and Darren Criss (the most recent Hedwig) — which while clever and current — are out of character for Hedwig…a punk East German transgender who heads a rock band and shares his wounds vocally.  A botched sex change operation left him feeling in adequate in more ways than one, and as he carries a tune, he carries the scars.  He rants, he rages, and he rocks out, spewing about his unhappy childhood, failed relationship and Berlin in this 100 minute, no intermission pulsating, concert format show.

The buff Diggs turns in an edgy, powerhouse performance, physically and emotionally, and he particularly shows off his pipes in the more heartfelt numbers.  He adeptly climbs in gold heels, struts his stuff, and plays to the audience, both thrilling and unnverving them those sitting in the front row.

Rebecca Naomi Jones is stellar as Yitzhak.  She is barely recognizable dressed in baggy jeans and close knit braids, but when she dons boots and the blonde wig and sashays across the stage, she soars.  Her voice is just stunning, and she is a terrific complement to Diggs.

Someone…quick…..put them in concert together as Jones and Diggs, and I’d buy a ticket for that!  In the meantime, if you’re a Diggs fan, this show is for you!

Hedwig and the Angry Inch, with book by John Cameron Mitchell and music and lyrics by Stephen Trask is directed by Michael Mayer. The production won four 2014 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival by the Tony Awards, the Drama Desk Awards, Drama League Awards, and Outer Critics Circle Awards. The Grammy nominated Original Broadway Cast album for Hedwig and the Angry Inch is available from Atlantic Records.

Hedwig & the Angry InchBelasco TheatreThe show was originally produced by David Binder off off Broadway at Westbeth and then, under the direction of Peter Askin, ran over two years at the Jane Street Theatre beginning in February 1998. The musical won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical and both John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask won Obies in 2001. Stage productions have played for many years in Japan and in 2008, Korea hosted a popular televised reality show about the search for a new star to play Hedwig.

The creative team for Hedwig and The Angry Inch features Emmy Award nominee Spencer Liff (musical staging), Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk Award winner Julian Crouch (scenic design), Tony Award and two-time Oscar nominee Arianne Phillips (costume design), four-time Tony Award winner Kevin Adams (lighting design), Mike Potter (hair and makeup design), Tony Award nominee and platinum-selling record producer Tim O’Heir (sound design), Benjamin Pearcy for 59 Productions (projection design), John Bair/Phosphene (animation), James Calleri (casting), Tony and Grammy Award nominee Ethan Popp (music supervisor & music coordinator), Justin Craig (music director), Liz Caplan (vocal supervision), Stephen Gabis (dialect coach), and Johanna McKeon (associate director).

The members of “The Angry Inch,” Hedwig’s band, are music director Justin Craig (guitar and keyboards), Matt Duncan (bass), Tim Mislock (guitar), and Peter Yanowitz (drums).


Tags: , , ,