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Friday, September 24, 2010

Hedwig and his Angry Inch visit the Queen City

Posted By on Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 3:30 PM

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By Matt Brunson

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (2001)

DIRECTED BY John Cameron Mitchell

STARS John Cameron Mitchell, Michael Pitt

Billed as a “post-punk neo-glam rock musical,” this adaptation of the 1998 Off-Broadway hit has enough surface kitsch to dazzle the senses, but it’s also an unexpectedly poignant tale of one individual’s journey toward becoming a complete person.

Writer-director John Cameron Mitchell plays the role of Hedwig, a rock star wanna-be resentful not only of the botched sex-change operation that left her with the titular “angry inch,” but also of her former boyfriend (Michael Pitt), who stole her songs and rode them all the way to fame and fortune. Powered by Stephen Trask’s superb, soaring rock anthems inspired by the Ziggy Stardust era, Hedwig and the Angry Inch serves as a reminder of the ability of the movie musical to convey emotions when mere words won’t do. Yet this isn’t simply a vamp’n’tramp show; instead, Mitchell’s performance as Hedwig remains one of the best of modern times — the character is by turns sexy, scary, outrageous, obnoxious, pitiable and vulnerable — and it anchors a movie that landed on my list of the 10 best films of the 2000s (see the complete list here).

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A penetrating parable about self-worth and self-realization — as well as an offbeat example of the old show biz axiom that any person can go out a nobody and come back a star — the joyous and raucous Hedwig is anything but a drag.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch will be screened at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, at Actor’s Theatre, 650 E. Stonewall St. Admission and popcorn are free; a cash bar is available. More details here.

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