The San Francisco Bay Area really is a special place. I was reminded of that fact as I sat in the intimate, night-club styled Box Car Theatre, about to watch Hedwig & The Angry Inch: the Live Musical! while being served cleverly themed cocktails. (My pick: The Origin of Love-ly Margarita.) On stage, Arturo Galster played the lead-Hedwig — “H1” if you will. She introduced herself, and everything I’d loved about the movie was birthed to life.
Following H1, H2-H8 took to the stage, presenting a full cast of EIGHT Hedwigs! In true Bay Area egalitarian fashion, each iconic blonde performed her own unique drag design, a spread of race, size, age and gender. The cast seamlessly took turns carrying the storyline from Hedwig to Hedwig, occasionally converging onstage all together in dizzying multiplicity. If you’re a fan of “The Origin of Love,” wait till you see it multiples — it’s an orgy of love!
Now, John Cameron Mitchell’s script was written for a single actor. However this version presents a strong case for a split cast. It felt so natural, it’s like it was the way it was supposed to be!
If you’re in the Bay Area, do not let this show pass you up. Buy your ticket ASAP. The Box Car is a small black box theater and seating is limited, so act now or you might find it sold out! Then, get there with plenty of time to order yummy fried treats and selections from a delicious cocktail menu, and get ready for a high-octane evening of blonde energy and glam rock ballads! Note: sit close to the stage or next to the stripper pole, and be prepared for flirtatious interaction with the many cast members. Also, there’s a beautiful, brief moment of full frontal nudity by H4 (Flynn Witmeyer).
For those who are outside the Bay Area, or who want a little peak at the fun they’re about to get themselves into, here’s a taste:
Hedwig & The Angry Inch
Book by John Cameron Mitchell
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Trask
Directed by Nick A. Olivero
Musically Directed by Rachel Robinson
Location: The Boxcar Playhouse
505 Natoma Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Closing Night: August 10th
TICKETS (Reserve your seat now, as in ASAP!)
Description: Several different actors share the title role in this Boxcar Playhouse production of John Cameron Mitchell’s outrageous musical comedy about a young East German man who discovers that the only way to escape communism and come to America is to give up — surgically — a little part of himself. After becoming Hedwig and being abandoned by her new husband in Middle America, she befriends a teen named Tommy but is betrayed by him as he steals the songs they’ve written together and becomes a huge star. The story of the charismatic transgender singer is presented as a rock concert/comedy gig that takes the audience on an emotional roller-coaster ride through the funny, touching, painful and ultimately inspiring experience of being Hedwig. Stephen Trask’s fantastic rock score has been winning fans and acclaim since the show first debuted a decade ago, recalling the ’70s glam era of David Bowie and Iggy Pop and winning an Obie and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical.
Also of interest: July 31st is a Kink-friendly night at Hedwig. And if you’ve already seen the show, be on the look out for “Behind the Wig” on July 28, where performers take you behind the scenes with stories about the show. These folks are TRULY entertaining and the process is just as much fun as the final number.
P.S. I would be remiss not to mention the mesmerizing Teresa Attridge/Yitzak. I couldn’t take my eyes — and ears — off her performance you can see what I mean in the video above. That girl has CHOPS! With the numerous cast I’m afraid I’d miss the names of all the players, live band and rockstar crew. They’re really all deserving of a standing ovation so please help me spread the word, and/or go there in person and give them a lot of love. (Plus, after the show grab a free Hedwig & The Angry Inch condom — now THAT’S good theatre!)