So tonight I saw Hedwig for the 5th time, my second time with Darren. I was blown away. As a warning, my review contains spoilers, but I don’t think I can do a read more on my phone:
Starting from the moment he descended from the rafters, I knew I was seeing a completely different show. This Hedwig was the Hedwig I fell in love with all those years ago on the DVD.
Darren becomes Hedwig in a way that is awe inspiring. I’ve seen Neil, Andrew, and John, and when I say that tonight’s show moved me more than any other rendition of the show I’ve seen, it would be an understatement.
There were problems with the audience: cell phones going off and people recording. Darren didn’t break character even once. Hedwig swooped down, got those audience members in her talons, and put them into their places (and perhaps shattered an iPhone when she threw it back). The audience on a whole was great, however. Participation was amazing (and a few catcalls about Darren’s legs), people were respectful, and everyone laughed and stayed silent at the appropriate moments. The best part? THE THEATRE WAS PACKED. Now, I couldn’t see the balcony, but orchestra was definitely full and the mezzanine was mostly full.
Darren’s voice sounded amazing - he was much, much better in Origin of Love - the first song of the evening to move me to tears. He was clearer, crisper, and his musicality once again shone through. His Wicked Little Town was the other to move me - the way he holds himself in that song….it is something you have to see to really understand. Though we did note that he drank a lot more tonight as well - so hopefully he’s taking care of those vocal cords.
The jokes tonight were hilarious - tons of jokes about Broadway, jokes with audience members, and the tried and true ones went off without a hitch. His timing has gotten SO MUCH better.
Darren’s acting broke my heart tonight. It’s amazing to see his character work, his physicality, and his acting chops when he’s given a good, well written character. Darren surprised me with the way he is able to move his body and his face. This is not the Darren we saw on television.
On a completely unimportant note: this is definitely a workout for him. His legs, his abs, his arms…it’s all good. I also sat right behind the car wash tonight and it was amazing to see just how strong he is up close.
On to my favorite part: the relationship between Yitzhak and Hedwig. There’s a line in Origin of Love that says “…and I could swear by your expression that the pain down in your soul was the same as the one down in mine.” I’ve never seen the line played this well: Despite it all, Hedwig loves Yitzhak and Yitzhak loves Hedwig.
Honestly, this role is Darren’s, fully and completely. If you haven’t seen it yet, you are lucky that you will see him when he has improved and grown into the role. If you have seen him and think you got a great show - got back, there’s more.