Hedwig and The Angry Inch Rocks…

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This show has legs…and great music, amazing performances, soul…if you miss Hedwig and the Angry Inch be mad, be very mad.

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Neil Patrick Harris is all that. Last night he sang, commanded the stage, gesticulated, gave his all and ad libbed his way through a brilliant performance.

After the opening number…Hedwig descends from heaven dressed like Lady Gaga…someone yells from the audience. Hedwig (Neil Patrick Harris) hits the high note, takes a breath and yells, “Shut up Shia LaBeouf!” I am now smitten.

3 songs in, a woman walks down the aisle dressed like an extra in Pat Benatar’s 1980’s video, “Love is a Battlefield” and blows kisses to Harris on stage. Upon finishing his knockout number, Sugar Daddy, Neil Patrick Harris stops the show and stands perfectly still, raises his toned arms and declares, “What the fuck is going on?!”

The latecomer just keeps blowing kisses. Harris instantly reprises the first 15 minutes of the show in a hysterical 30 seconds. The audience goes wild. He then asks the woman (without leaving character) who is tardy to the party, “You are so late. Where did you come from?” She bellows, “Miami.” Hedwig says, “I came all the way from East Berlin and I was on time!” The audience explodes in applause.

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Harris has never had to carry a full-scale production on his shoulders, as he does in Hedwig, John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’ s 1998 rock musical memoir. He is giddy perfection.

 While Neil Patrick Harris may let you see him sweat as he struts, slithers and leaps through the thoroughly entertaining show, enthusiastically directed by Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, American Idiot), he never makes it feel like heavy lifting. He recently earned a Tony for his spirited and riveting performance.

Lena Hall and Neil Patrick Harris
Lena Hall and Neil Patrick Harris

The memorable musical numbers mix glam, rock, punk and R&B. Harris’ voice is surprisingly good and Tony Award winner, Lena Hall’s initially understated performance, will blow your mind.

She was last seen in the role of Nicola in Kinky Boots on Broadway. When she discovers her inner woman, she ends the show looking incredible and singing like a diva….what a voice.

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Neil Patrick Harris and Andrew Rannells

Andrew Rannells (Book of Mormon and hit TV show, Girls) takes over the Hedwig role when Neil Patrick Harris ends his remarkable run on August 17th. He will try to fill some audacious high heels (I wish I could walk that well in heels) when he debuts on August 20th. Rannells headlines through October 12th.

I witnessed the original musical Off-Broadway in 1998 at the intimate Jane Theater in the west village. The creator, John Cameron Mitchell, was exceptional, but the play had a completely different vibe. The story draws on Mitchell’s life as the son of a United States Army Major General who once commanded the U.S. sector of occupied West Berlin.

It is now a full-fledged Broadway musical with all the bells and whistles, but it is a true musical. It reminds me of seeing early Bowie, Blondie and Iggy Pop live concerts. The music is that good and the performances stellar.

Take an inch….make a measured decision to see this musical.

 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Belasco Theatre 111 West 44th Street NYC. Running time is 2 hours with no intermission. Wednesday-Friday at 8pm. Saturday at 7 and 10pm. Sunday at 3 and 7pm.

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