Review | Hedwig And The Angry Inch: this one will rock you right to the end

Theater Latté Da, through May 5

Tyler Michaels in HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH. Photo by Dan Norman.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is not an easy show to pull off. But when it’s done right, it pulls you in, sinking its Aqua Net misted hooks into you and will stay with you long after the final curtain. Theater Latte Da’s (performing, as always, at the old Ritz Theater) production of Hedwig, beautifully directed by Annie Enneking and Latté Da artistic director Peter Rothstein, completely blew me away and had my full attention from the minute the band started warming up, to Hedwig’s iconic entrance, to the heart-wrenching finale. Get ready to clap your hands, stomp your feet, and laugh at Hedwig’s cheeky one-liners, backed by a band of what can only be described as an 80s hair band meets a late grunge punk rock crew.

Written by dynamic duo John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, Hedwig is based loosely on Mitchell’s stories of growing up in Berlin with a military commander as a father. The show originally premiered in 1998, a time when queer culture was not afforded nearly the same platform the LGBTQ community has today. Although many milestones have been made in the name of equality, transphobia and homophobia remain deeply rooted in our society. We continue to struggle with complexities of gender, identity, and sexuality and Hedwig’s story, although hard to swallow for its problems dealing with a forced sex-change, is still a story packed with powerful meaning and features a hero to root for.

Tyler Michaels King as Hedwig commands the stage from start to finish with a kind of remarkable ease. The band/supporting players never overshadow his strong vocals. This is no small feat considering the supporting powerhouse cast features Mayda Miller on bass who has had her music featured on commercials and on Good Morning America and Jendeen Forberg on drums who is always ready with a rimshot to follow Hedwig’s jokes.

Jay Owen Eisenberg plays Yitzhak, someone who broods and sulks through the production, generally staying under the radar and the butt of many of Hedwig’s comments, only to steal the show at the end with a stunning finale. Jason Hansen rocked, quite literally, as both the keyboardist, singing and playing along with Hedwig and as the music director for the production.

Theater Latte Da’s production of Hedwig is not to be missed. It’s a compelling story of the never-ending search to find what’s been long lost, and working to be whole when we’re all just pieces of a puzzle looking for our other half.

The show does feature some intense flashing lights, and strobe lights towards the end, those with photosensitive epilepsy or sensitivity to flashing lights should be advised that flashing lights may cause seizures in some people.

The production also hands out complimentary ear plugs…

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