Musical (1998)

Musique: Stephen Trask
Paroles: Stephen Trask
Livret: John Cameron Mitchell
Production à la création:

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a rock musical about a fictional rock and roll band fronted by a genderqueer East German singer, Hedwig Robinson. The story draws on Mitchell's life as the son of a U.S. Army Major General who once commanded the U.S. sector of occupied West Berlin. The character of Hedwig was inspired by a German divorced U.S. Army wife who was a Mitchell family babysitter and moonlighted as a prostitute at her Junction City, Kansas, trailer park home. The music is steeped in the androgynous 1970s glam rock style of David Bowie (who co-produced the Los Angeles production of the show), as well as the work of John Lennon and early punk performers Lou Reed and Iggy Pop.

Hedwig (who once was a boy named Hansel) lost part of himself to East Berlin when he came to America. Once there, he lost the rest to Tommy Gnosis. The musical is Hedwig's retelling of his life, accompanied by his band "The Angry Inch."

The concept of the stage production is that the audience is watching genderqueer rockstar Hedwig Robinson's musical act as she follows rockstar Tommy Gnosis's (much more successful) tour around the country. Occasionally Hedwig opens a door onstage to listen to Gnosis's concert, which is playing in an adjoining venue. Gnosis is recovering from an incident that nearly ruined his career, having crashed his car into a school bus while high and receiving oral sex from none other than Hedwig herself. Capitalizing on her notoriety from the incident, Hedwig determines to tell the audience her story ("Tear Me Down").
She is aided and hindered by her assistant, back-up singer and husband, Yitzhak. A Jewish drag queen from Zagreb, Yitzhak has an unhealthy, codependent relationship with Hedwig. She verbally abuses him throughout the evening, and it becomes clear that she is threatened by his natural talent, which eclipses her own. She describes how she agreed to marry him only after extracting a promise from him to never do drag again, and he bitterly resents her treatment of him. (To further the musical's theme of blurred gender lines, Yitzhak is played by a female actress.)
Hedwig tells her life story, which began when she was Hansel Schmidt, a "slip of a girlyboy" growing up in East Berlin. Raised by an emotionally distant single mother after his father, an American soldier, abandoned the family, Hansel takes solace in his love of western rock music. He becomes fascinated with a story called "The Origin of Love," based on Aristophanes' speech in Plato's Symposium. It explains that three sexes of human beings once existed: "children of the sun" (man and man attached), "children of the earth" (woman and woman attached), and "children of the moon" (man and woman attached). Each were once round, two-headed, four-armed, and four-legged beings. Angry gods split these early humans in two, leaving the separated people with a lifelong yearning for their other half. Hansel is determined to search for his other half, but is convinced he will have to travel to the West to do so.
This becomes possible when, in his 20s, he meets Luther Robinson, an American soldier ("Sugar Daddy") who convinces him to begin dressing in drag. Luther falls in love with Hansel and the two decide to marry. This plan will allow Hansel to leave communist East Germany for the capitalist West. However, in order to be married, the couple must consist of a man and a woman. Hansel's mother, Hedwig, gives Hansel her name and passport and finds a doctor to perform a sex change. However, the operation is botched, and Hansel's surgically constructed vagina heals closed, leaving Hansel – now Hedwig – with a dysfunctional one-inch mound of flesh between her legs, "with a scar running down it like a sideways grimace on an eyeless face" ("Angry Inch").
Hedwig goes to live in Junction City, Kansas, as Luther's wife. On their first wedding anniversary, Luther leaves Hedwig for a man. That same day, it is announced that the Berlin Wall has fallen and Germany will reunite, meaning Hedwig's sacrifice was for nothing. Hedwig recovers from the separation by creating a more glamorous, feminine identity for herself ("Wig in a Box") and forming a rock band she calls The Angry Inch.
Hedwig befriends the brother of a child she babysits, shy and misunderstood Christian teenager Tommy Speck, who is fascinated by a song she writes with him in mind ("Wicked Little Town"). They collaborate on songs, and begin a relationship. Their songs are a success, and Hedwig gives him the stage name "Tommy Gnosis." Hedwig believes that Tommy is her soulmate and that she cannot be whole without him, but he is disgusted when he discovers that she is not biologically female and abandons her ("The Long Grift"). He goes on to become a wildly successful rock star with the songs Hedwig wrote alone and with him. The "internationally ignored" Hedwig and her band the Angry Inch are forced to support themselves by playing coffee bars and dives.
Hedwig grows more erratic and unstable as the evening progresses, until she finally breaks down, stripping off her wig, dress, and make-up, forcing Yitzahk to step forward and sing ("Hedwig's Lament"/"Exquisite Corpse"). At the height of her breakdown, she seems to transform into Tommy Gnosis, who both begs for and offers forgiveness in a reprise of the song she wrote for him ("Wicked Little Town (Reprise)"). Hedwig, out of drag, finds acceptance within herself, giving her wig to Yitzhak. At peace, Hedwig departs the stage as Yitzhak takes over her final song, dressed fabulously in drag ("Midnight Radio").

The character of Hedwig was originally a supporting character in the piece. She was loosely inspired by a German female babysitter/prostitute who worked for Mitchell's family when he was a teenager in Junction City, Kansas. The character of Tommy, originally conceived as the main character, was based on Mitchell himself: both were gay, the sons of an army general, deeply Roman Catholic, and fascinated with mythology. Hedwig became the story's protagonist when Trask encouraged Mitchell to showcase their earliest material in 1994 at NYC's drag-punk club Squeezebox, where Trask headed the house band and Mitchell's boyfriend, Jack Steeb, played bass.

They agreed the piece should be developed through band gigs in clubs rather than in a theater setting in order to preserve a rock energy. Mitchell was deeply influenced by Squeezebox's roster of drag performers who performed rock covers. The setlists of Hedwig's first gigs included many covers with lyrics rewritten by Mitchell to tell Hedwig's story: Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well"; Television's "See No Evil"; Wreckless Eric's "Whole Wide World"; Yoko Ono's "Death of Samantha"; Pere Ubu's "Non-Alignment Pact"; Cher's "Half Breed"; David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging"; Mott the Hoople's "All the Young Dudes"; and the Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale." A German glam rendition of Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" once served as the musical's finale.

Mitchell's second gig was as fill-in host at Squeezebox on a bill featuring singer Deborah Harry of Blondie. It was for this occasion that Mike Potter first designed Hedwig's trademark wig, which was initially constructed from toilet paper rolls wrapped with synthetic blond hair. Mitchell, Trask, and the band Cheater (Jack Steeb, Chris Wielding, Dave McKinley, and Scott Bilbrey) continued to workshop material at venues such as Fez Nightclub and Westbeth Theater Center for four years before premiering the completed musical Off-Broadway in 1998.

Mitchell has explained that Hedwig is not a trans woman, but a genderqueer character. "She's more than a woman or a man," he has said. "She's a gender of one and that is accidentally so beautiful."

Even though Yitzhak sings backup on almost all numbers in the show, the songs below that are labelled with Hedwig with Yitzhak are ones where he has notable solo lines. The show is performed without an intermission.
"Tear Me Down" - Hedwig with Yitzhak
"The Origin of Love" - Hedwig
"Sugar Daddy" - Hedwig with Yitzhak
"Angry Inch" - Hedwig
"Wig in a Box" - Hedwig
"Wicked Little Town" - Hedwig
"The Long Grift" - Yitzhak/Skszp ‡
"Hedwig's Lament" - Hedwig
"Exquisite Corpse" - Hedwig with Yitzhak
"Wicked Little Town (Reprise)" - Hedwig as Tommy §
"Midnight Radio" - Hedwig

‡ In the original Off-Broadway production, this song was not sung by Yitzhak, but by the musical director Skszp. However, in the 2014 Broadway Revival, Yitzhak sings the song instead.
§ This song is performed by Tommy Gnosis, who is meant to be portrayed by the same actor as Hedwig.
A song performed by Yitzhak and the band, "Random Number Generation" was included on the Off-Broadway Cast Album, but does not appear in the score. The Broadway production has the song prepared to play in case Hedwig has to leave the stage, along with "Freaks", a song from the movie.[4] Lena Hall performed the song at her final show during the sound check.
In the 2014 Broadway Revival, a small subplot was added to the script, and a small number was added to support it. Parodying The Hurt Locker Hedwig explains that a musical version of the story only ran for a single night before closing during intermission, and that she has convinced a producer to let her perform in what would otherwise be an empty stage. At one point Hedwig finds the theme for a song from the show, "When Love Explodes" and lets Yitzhak sing it, but stops him before he can sing the last note (the one exception being Lena Hall's final night). Yitzhak sings the entire song (including a missing verse) in the Revival Cast Album.

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Version 1

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (1998-02-Jane Street Theatre-Off Broadway)

Type de série: Original
Théâtre: Jane Street Theatre (Broadway (Off) - Etats-Unis)
Durée : 2 ans 1 mois 3 semaines
Nombre : 857 représentations
Première Preview : 14 February 1998
Première: 14 February 1998
Dernière: 09 April 2000
Mise en scène :
Chorégraphie :
Producteur :
Star(s) :

Version 2

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2000-09-Playhouse Theatre-London)

Type de série: Original London
Théâtre: Playhouse Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 1 mois 2 semaines
Nombre : 55 représentations
Première Preview : 08 September 2000
Première: 19 September 2000
Dernière: 04 November 2000
Mise en scène : Jeffrey N. Moss
Chorégraphie : Jerry Mitchell
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Michael Cerveris (Hedwig), Elizabeth Marsh (Yitzak)
Commentaires : This fringe rock-musical premiered off-Broadway in February 1998, where it ran for two years and won several awards. Despite its cult success, the two-hander did not go down well with London critics or audiences and ran just seven weeks.
Michael Coveney in the Daily Mail said “the whole tacky experience is like watching a bad Dusty Springfield concert performed by Lily Savage with a good backing band.” A film version was made in 2001 directed by John Cameron Mitchell who also played the role of Hedwig. The film version won several awards and has become a cult classic.
Presse : THE INDEPENDENT loved the show saying, "As a musical, Hedwig has it all: melodrama, pathos, searing humour and a handful of fantastic songs. Move over Rocky Horror and make way for a brand new cult."

THE TIMES was more luke-war saying, "This off-Broadway cult looks awfully thin in the West End."

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Though small in scale, and more of a cabaret than a full-blown tune-and-toe show, there is little doubt that Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the best rock musical since The Rocky Horror Show."

THE EVENING STANDARD says, "If only Michael Cerveris, in the role of Hedwig, had the right voice and wit, then this cabaret-musical might have been able to secure the cult status and coterie appeal it achieved off-Broadway. But it turns out to be virtually a one-transexual show and Cerveris's nasal, throaty voice is all too often blotted out by the eloquent, four-strong band that pitches itself too loud."

TIME OUT says 'Hedwig', " suffers from being nowhere near as funny as it has hitherto assumed itself to be."

THE STAGE says, "American Michael Cerveris has great stage presence and a hell of a voice..."

Version 3

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001-11-Film)

Type de série: Film
Théâtre: *** Film (*** - ***)
Durée :
Nombre :
Première Preview : 21 November 2001
Première: 21 November 2001
Dernière: 21 November 2001
Mise en scène : John Cameron Mitchell
Chorégraphie :
Producteur :
Star(s) :

Version 4

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2004-xx-Water Street Music Hall-Rochester-NY)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Water Street Music Hall (Rochester - Etats-Unis)
Durée :
Nombre :
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première: Inconnu
Dernière: 20 June 2004
Mise en scène : Ryan J. Davis
Chorégraphie : ???? ????
Producteur :
Star(s) :

Version 5

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2014-04-Belasco Theatre-Broadway)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Belasco Theatre (Broadway - Etats-Unis)
Durée : 1 an 4 mois 3 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : 29 March 2014
Première: 22 April 2014
Dernière: 13 June 2015
Mise en scène : Michael Mayer
Chorégraphie :
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig), Lena Hall (Yitzhak)
Commentaires : This production has seen a string of A-list actors done the wig and take on this challenging and highly demanding lead role, making it one of the most-talked about revivals out on Broadway right now!

Hedwig and the Angry Inch was first seen Off Off-Broadway at Westbeth, after which it ran at the Jane Street Theatre for over two years from early 1998. The groundbreaking Obie-winning Off-Broadway smash went on to win multiple awards for its cult film adaptation of the same name. This Broadway revival continues the trend, earning eight 2014 Tony Awards nominations and winning four, including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for its glittering (literally) star, Neil Patrick Harris.
Presse : "Shamelessly enjoyable show. ... one of the few unqualified pleasures of this Broadway spring" Ben Brantley for New York Times

"Frisky, unapologetically raunchy fable of love, loss, fury and freedom is flashier on the Great White Way thanks to director Michael Mayer’s gleaming production." Joe Dziemianowicz for New York Daily News

"The success or failure of this 'Hedwig' rests on Harris. In cutoff denim shorts, teetering platforms and gigantic blond hair, he relentlessly prowls the stage, occasionally lunging into the audience for a lap dance or two. But it all feels a little too rehearsed, and Harris doesn’t look entirely comfortable clambering over the bombed-out set. Only when he finally clicks with the material — as on the heartbreaking “Wig in a Box,” about the process of becoming someone else — is the show suddenly worth the effort he’s poured into it." Elisabeth Vincentelli for New York Post

"Its downtown vibe wouldn't seem to make it a candidate for Broadway, but, under the spirited direction of Michael Mayer – and, pivotally, the grand performance by Harris – it's a blast." Robert Feldberg for The Record

"Neil Patrick Harris kicks it out like crazy as Hedwig, the transgender punk rocker who rages away in the musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Making his first Broadway appearance in ten years, Harris delivers a lusty, full-throttle performance " Michael Sommers for Newsroom Jersey

"Harris is beyond fabulous, holds nothing back and plays it any way but safe in Michael Mayer's exhilarating production." David Rooney for The Hollywood Reporter

"The screaming starts when a bespangled Neil Patrick Harris parachutes onstage in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and doesn’t stop until he’s back in his dressing room. That’s the kind of rock-star performance he gives in this spectacular revival." Marilyn Stasio for Variety

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