Daily Herald Guest Critic Kip Gire, owner of Luna Studios in Hoffman Estates, joined Diana Martinez of Broadway in Chicago to see the production of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," now playing at Oriental Theatre in Chicago through Sunday, March 19. Gire said the music in the show is fantastic, including some poignant, songs as well as rocking and sad numbers. The show is fun and crazy, he said, but warned the subject matter is not for everyone.
By Diana Martinez
The 2014 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" opened at the Oriental Theatre and is a gender-bending punk rock musical that explores the life of a one-of-a-kind unique transgender who is trying to find love and acceptance in this updated version of the cult favorite.
Hedwig is an East German transgender who is the lead singer of a rock 'n' roll band. Hedwig, who was formerly Hansel, assumes a female persona after she is forced into a botched sex change operation which was performed to allow her to marry an American man in order to escape East Germany.
"The Angry Inch" is the name of her band and a reference to the botched operation. There's also a subplot of her young boyfriend who stole her music and became a big star as she struggles playing small venues. The show is directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer and stars the Tony and Olivier Award-nominee Euan Morton.
Although the show sounds dark and complex, it is juxtaposed against a vibrant and unique sarcastic protagonist who has a great sardonic sense of humor that breaks the tension. The music also drives with passion and pulse and gives the show its high energy.
In most respects this is a "one (wo)man show" and it's not an easy role to play. Euan Morton masters the music and the humor with the perfect touch of vulnerability that makes him so intriguing. The show is done as a concert-style production that is flashy and loud, with nods to David Bowie and the Punk Rock-era of the '80s.
Although the theme of the show is wrapped around a complex subject matter, there is plenty of humor, powerful singing and a strong message we can all relate to that keeps the audience engaged and entertained. After all, Hedwig wants what we all want: love, pursuing your dreams and acceptance.
"Hedwig and the Angry Inch" plays at the Oriental Theatre through March 19. This show runs about 1 hour and 40 minutes with no intermission and is recommended for ages 18 and up.
On behalf of the Daily Herald, and Broadway in Chicago, I'm Diana Martinez and I look forward to seeing you at the theater!
Thanks for reading!