Musical comedy caps Pier One season
‘Hedwig’ leaves audiences anything but angry
By Randi Somers
HOMER TRIBUNE/Randi Somers - Atz Lee Kilcher as Hedwig (RIGHT), and producer Kathleen Gustafson (LEFT) as Hedwig’s husband, harmonize in an earlier performance this season.
Wrapping up the summer season with smiles and songs, Pier One Theatre brings the off-Broadway hit musical, “Hedwig and The Angry Inch” to audiences beginning this Friday, and running through the Labor Day Weekend.
The comedy tells the story of Hedwig – an “internationally ignored” rock singer – searches for love and stardom while dealing with a botched sex change.
Born a boy in West Berlin, Hedwig has surgery to become a woman in order to marry an American soldier and escape to freedom.
As Hedwig, the gender-confused escapee from behind the Berlin Wall, Atz Lee Kilcher turns in a performance worthy of an OBIE (Off-Broadway Award).
In addition to directing the musical, Kathleen Gustafson also plays the role of Hedwig’s husband, Yatzack, providing harmony for some of Kilcher’s vocals.
Although Hedwig escaped from Berlin, she can’t elude her fate, finding herself divorced and abandoned in a trailer park in Kansas.
But she has plenty of talent and forms a rock band. There, she falls in love with her protege, Tommy Gnosis, who eventually leaves her, stealing her songs and parlaying the music and her training into a very successful singing career.
Hedwig, with her band, “The Angry Inch,” haunts Tommy on his tours, performing in restaurants for surprised diners and a few devoted fans. The Angry Inch band features Jane Ferman on keyboard, Jake Stultz on lead guitar, Ben Gerhard on bass, Matt Farnsworth on drums and Irene Saxton on rhythm guitar.
Through songs and flashbacks, Hedwig tells her life story while touring strip-mall seafood restaurants, borrowing on her past connection with Gnosis for celebrity.
As befits a musical comedy, this one has a happy ending as Hedwig eventually finds true love and resolves her identity uncertainty.
While the play has been produced in several venues around Homer this summer, those who missed it, as well as those who would like to see it again – are expected to pack the little theatre on the Homer Spit for the season’s final weekends.
In the title role, Kilcher, better known for his musical performances than acting, impresses with his versatility and talent during a non-stop tour de force at the microphone.
Written by John Cameron Mitchell with lyrics by Stephen Trask, the play was originally produced in Off-Broadway clubs in New York City as a cabaret-style play.
Combining Hedwig’s monologues with songs that range from power rock ballads to rockabilly, the musical sketches the history of rock ‘n roll in America while exploring the dilemma of a man who hasn’t quite become a woman.
Gustafson uses rear projection of images produced by video artists Kevin Co and Kathy Brennan to illustrate the story.
Pier One Artistic Director Lance Petersen said that, due to the adult content, audience members must be 18 or older, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
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Posted by Tribune Moderator
on Aug 26th, 2009 and filed under Theater
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