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And You’re Shining, Like the Brightest Star

Alright Broadway bitches – it’s been a while, but not without good reason. Ashley has been working extra hard in midwifery school, so she’s been out of town a lot. But. In one of her brief interludes actually at home, we got a chance to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch AGAIN – this time starring Andrew Rannells! We’ll skip some of the pieces we usually add at the end about best places to eat, etc. – you can get all of that from our earlier review. This is just the details on this particular Hedwig, with the full disclosure that his tenure was brief and you can no longer see him in the show.

Without further ado:

Key cast: Andrew Rannells (original cast, The Book of Mormon; Girls on TV; etc.) as Hedwig, Lena Hall (Nicola in original Kinky Boots cast) as Yitzhak. Note that Michael C Hall is now in the titular role, and we sincerely hope to catch him before he goes!
Theater: Belasco Theatre, 111 West 44th Street
Ticket price range: $65 – $200
Our rating: 4.5 wig-raising stars
Our theater rating: 3 – a smaller theater makes tickets a little pricey and harder to come by without shopping about a month in advance; side views are definitely impaired in this theater, even in seats that aren’t marked as such when you buy them, so BE AWARE!
On through: January 4, 2015 (extension TBD)
Synopsis: “Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a musical comedy that tells the story of a fictional rock ‘n’ roll band, fronted by Hedwig, a transgender woman and “internationally ignored song stylist” from East Berlin.”

The nitty gritty – our thoughts on this show: We’ll begin by saying that seeing this show a second time doesn’t in any way diminish the take away value; in fact, we think it enhances it. Sometimes you see a show too much and it sort of loses its luster, its awe-inspiring qualities. A second viewing really allows you to observe and take in some of the finer details of the show that you may have missed in all of the powerhouse, emotionally wracking parts of the plot. This definitely makes it a little tricky to grade fairly; some of the emotional poignancy feels a lot stronger the second time around, but we think that’s more to do with the overall plot than casting.

That said, we came to this big conclusion. In terms of singing, Rannells crushed this out of the park. He was better and more suited to the role than NPH – particularly in some of the sadder songs, like Wicked Little Town. But. In terms of comprehensive package, we’re going with Neil. Better physicality, better improv, better audience interaction, just better acting. Not to mention that Rannells’ German accent was just abysmal – gasp! No, we love Andrew, truly. It was incredible to see him perform live (and particularly to listen to him live). His vocals were absolutely glowing and definitely gave us chills in some moments, but the allure and chemistry of NPH is just hard to beat.

We’re looking forward to seeing this somewhat unexpected casting with Michael C Hall in the future, but the next post (outside of some awesome photos) will actually be a review of a non-musical play, the old time classic You Can’t Take it With You.

Obligatory theater selfie time!

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Hey Sugar Daddy, Bitches Need Some Sugar in Their Bowl

Alright, it’s time for the long-awaited return of a bitches on Broadway review – and we’re taking it to the top right now with multiple Tony winning show, Hedwig and the Angry Inch!

Hedwig Set

Key cast: Neil Patrick Harris (I don’t need to provide credits for him, right??) as Hedwig, Lena Hall (Nicola in original Kinky Boots cast) as Yitzhak. Note that NPH is leaving soon to be replaced by Andrew Rannells (Elder Price in the original Book of Mormon cast) as of August 20
Theater: Belasco Theatre, 111 West 44th Street
Ticket price range: $65 – $200
Our rating: 5 wig-raising stars
Our theater rating: 3 – a smaller theater makes tickets a little pricey and harder to come by without shopping about a month in advance; side views are definitely impaired in this theater, even in seats that aren’t marked as such when you buy them, so BE AWARE!
On through: October 2014 (additional dates TBD)
Synopsis: “Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a musical comedy that tells the story of a fictional rock ‘n’ roll band, fronted by Hedwig, a transgender woman and “internationally ignored song stylist” from East Berlin.”

The nitty gritty – our thoughts on this show:

This is, hands down, one of the best shows we’ve ever seen. EVER. Kristin is putting it second – behind only Kinky Boots (which the bitches are going to go see again this week). We’re talking about a complete package deal, from hilarious numbers & witty banter, through powerful ballads and intense moments where you are practically jumping out of your damn seat. Let’s get into this sugar bowl of a show, shall we?

This show is structured in a very interesting way, with Hedwig primarily narrating her own story while performing a concert with her band. There are no scene changes, only a handful of moving set pieces, and everyone on stage at the beginning will be there almost the entire time, with no new additions. It runs as one enormous monologue, more or less, with occasional punctuation from other characters (mostly Yitzhak) and a never-seen ex-boyfriend Tommy Gnosis. Needless to say, the role of Hedwig is incredibly demanding and really requires a special kind of actor to deliver – someone who can single-handedly carry you through a very difficult emotional plot, while still engaging and connecting you with the others on stage. NPH is clutch, and hopefully Andrew Rannells can bring that much-required star power to the role.

Flawless! Eat it, bitches.

Flawless! Eat it, bitches.

Hedwig aside for a moment, we don’t want to mislead you at all about Lena Hall’s Yitzhak. Minor character though he may be, Yitzhak has a powerful and much-needed presence on his own, even in relative speaking silence. He’s suave and sexy, and his song “When Love Explodes” – though it may be a bit tongue in cheek – is actually one of the best in the show. It’s a bit of a roller coaster ride with Hedwig – from her joy at interacting with you at the beginning, to the heart touching “Origin of Love,” to the pounding and crushing “Angry Inch,” all the way to the very end. And let us just tell you, the finale will give you absolute chills. It is so ripe with so many emotions, so intense, and yet finally uplifting in the best kind of way.

If we had any complaints to speak of, they’d be as follows – and this is TRULY getting into nitty gritty: the acoustics are incredibly loud, and it can make some pieces a little difficult to process and understand. This is doubly true if you’ve never seen the film version or don’t know the music – it would be pretty tricky to keep up with this kind of plot at this sound level if you don’t already know the gist of it, so study up before you go. As a second mark against it, it seems like the show had a botched cut job itself – it’s an angry inch (or 30-60 minutes) short of what it could be. It runs a mere 90 minutes and has no intermission whatsoever – there’s not a single moment for you to really process or take a breather from the dominance that is Hedwig. And maybe that’s intentional, but we want MORE Hedwig, while also wanting a bit of a break to process some of the big numbers.

Those downsides aside, this is an impeccable masterpiece if done with the right cast, and you will not regret mustering up the change to see it. Remember, study the tunes & book in advance! You’ll actually find some reasonable prices if you give yourself time.

Our recommendations:
Best seen with: Anyone that isn’t a prude / is ready for the intense experience of up & down emotions with our much-beloved Hedwig; also a perk if they’re the type that will get really invested in a show and lift up their hands in that finale
Best food nearby: We went to Wolf & Lamb, a gourmet kosher spot with a short but well-executed menu. They have fried pickles that are out of this world, and some incredible burgers that are juicy, flavorful, and well-portioned. It’s a little bit further than some of the other restaurant-to-theater plans we’ve made, but well worth it. If you’re looking for something closer, there’s The Lamb’s Club across the street (a little pricey), and the well-rated and very modestly priced Kellari Taverna one block off.
Best metro stop: Times Square-42nd Street (1, 2, 3, N, Q, R, S, 7)
Best parking garageEdison ParkFast at 50 W. 44th Street, which we used for Book of Mormon, is still very reasonable (at $10-25) and quite close at a mere 2 blocks away

Time for the obligatory Hedwig selfie – we’ll have some more photos of us and the cast to share with you later this week. You can also anticipate seeing some new pics from Kinky soon, too, because a reprise was definitely in order!

hedwig selfie

 

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