Okay so tonight was wonderful and a lot of this post will probably be incoherent gushing and I apologize.
So tonight was ABSOLUTELY AMAZEBALLS - cathymnk and I had good seats, to the left, and then a couple people to our right moved to the handicap section, so we got to move a couple seats closer to the center, thanks to the kind people who offered to let us take those seats! I could clearly see Darren’s face makeup caked onto his skin when he went into the audience in Sugar Daddy. He came within a couple seats of us. Also, I swear he’s even more beautiful this year than he was last year. So tan and muscular and such glowing skin. Halp.
I could tell even in Tear Me Down that Darren was in a bit of a mood tonight - I’m not sure how to explain it, but he sort of had more attitude than usual, I felt like. During the first monologue he seemed a little manic. He was forgetting things more than usual and misspeaking more than usual, and I figured it was going to be one of those rushed, flustered performances he sometimes had on Broadway. But oh my, it definitely wasn’t that. By the time of Origin of Love, he’d settled down and became very intense. This was one of the best Origin of Loves I’ve seen. He was really feeling the lyrics tonight. I also LOVE the new things he’s done with the melody and phrasing, on this song and others. As the show went on, he kept getting more and more emotional, until both he and Yitzhak really seemed like they couldn’t hold it together anymore.
Miscellaneous notes, in no particular order:
- I noticed tonight that Yitzhak kept standing from when he helps Hedwig take off her pelt to when he sits down for the Coffee Enema Bar scene. I don’t know if this is unusual, but I don’t think I’d ever noticed it before, and it had some interesting implications - Yitzhak is subtly growing more and more defiant, getting more and more frustrated with his and Hedwig’s situation. There are probably other meanings I haven’t thought of yet.
- When Hedwig ripped the Love Theme out of Yitzhak’s hands, Hedwig ripped a little too hard and some of the theme got left behind in Yitzhak’s hand. He stared at it, like he was just amazed by this fragment of music in his hand or something. (Lena was hilarious and somehow put a lot of emotion into this at the same time.) After Hedwig threw the Love Theme into the audience, she realized she’d missed a bit and grabbed that and threw it into the audience too, but didn’t acknowledge it otherwise.
- When Hedwig goes behind the car when she can’t sing the Long Grift, Yitzhak was actually trying to hug her for comfort. I really got the sense that Hedwig has cried about this to Yitzhak many times, and Yitzhak has comforted her many times. Hedwig also seemed more aggressive about brushing her off than usual, which made everything that much more intense. And it got even more intense when Hedwig went back over to Yitzhak after the Long Grift - both of them were extremely emotional here. Darren was visibly crumbling as he got to the “the German and the Jew” line, and he just kept crumbling more and more. Meanwhile, Lena was a little ball of cold rage until she gave Darren a particularly big spit in the face, slightly prematurely, too. They were both so into it.
- After Midnight Radio, Yitzhak was especially beaten down as he stood up and went to put Hedwig’s wig on. I’ve seen Lena do this in videos before, and it was wonderful to see it live.
- Also after Midnight Radio, Darren stayed in Tommy mode longer than usual - it was a solid fifteen or twenty seconds of Tommy before he snapped back to Hedwig.
- The pull and affection between Hedwig and Yitzhak wasn’t as intense tonight as last night, but, as I’ve pointed out
- Lena was SO into Midnight Radio at the end, there - she got pretty extravagant
- We had an understudy for Krzyzhtoff tonight, so the Luther voice in Sugar Daddy is different, as you’ll hear on the audio when we get it up
- Lena has adopted the thing that Rebecca used to do where after she says “devices” and the audience laughs at her pronunciation, she gives the audience a look, like, what’s funny? I could be wrong that Rebecca was the one who started doing that, maybe Lena did it first, but I don’t remember seeing Lena do it on any of the Broadway videos, so I don’t know. Regardless, it’s a nice touch and she does it very well, but with a more innocent attitude than Rebecca did it with (Lena’s Yitzhak generally seems more innocent than Rebecca’s to me).
- Lena. Let’s just talk about Lena for a minute because she is my greatest discovery this trip. Okay, I shouldn’t really call her a discovery because I’ve loved her since the 2014 Tonys, when I learned about the show. Then I wanted to see her on Broadway so bad and was so sad when I heard she was leaving, and I always wondered what she and Darren might have been like together. After seeing Darren with Rebecca so many times, it was hard to picture him with Lena’s Yitzhak. Lena has this pull about her, this charisma, that you don’t really get through the videos. On Broadway, I always struggled to look at anything besides Darren because he was so mesmerizing to me, but with Lena there, my eyes can’t decide which one to focus on. I am so, so grateful I got to see her live, and with Darren, after thinking I wouldn’t get to see her live at all, never mind with him, and never mind as Hedwig herself.
- Last night, Darren and Lena’s voices together were fascinating and beautiful to me, but tonight, being closer up, I could hear their voices together more clearly, and it’s so cool to hear. I’m not sure it’ll come across on my audio, but their voices both have such depth and emotional power. It’s amazing to listen to them weave around each other, his warm, honey voice with her sing-song yet rockish voice.
- It was a Hedhead audience tonight, with a good portion of newbies as well, so it made for an appropriately enthusiastic yet fresh and respectful crowd. I imagine that made him and the others more excited, too.
Darren Hopes (British, Truro, UK) - 1: Arc Magazine: When They Came To Us 2: Stretch: Personal Work 3: Journeys; Cover for Popshot Magazine, Issue 11, 2014 4: Owl Service: Interior, She Began To Cut, 2013 5: Popshot Magazine: String Theory 6: Arc Magazine: Vapors 7: Owl Service: Interior 8: Burden, 2014 Personal Work 9: Album Cover Artwork for Budda Cakes Album Edge Of Different Mixed Media
GUYS. I met up with inkystars and macklinyousonuvabitch to see Hedwig tonight and I’m going to go ahead and say that was the best decision of the year. I mean, first of all, both of them are lovely and having never met any tumblr peeps irl this was a truly amazing way to start. <3 BUT THE SHOW. Oh wow. Being lucky enough to live in NYC, I have managed to scrape, borrow or win my way in to see every single Hedwig, and Darren took the freaking cake. I mean, my GOD. He blew the roof off it!! His voice was incredible perfection, and his acting choices were SO ON. I’ve loved every incarnation of Hedwig for different reasons, but what I loved about Darren’s performance was the way he balanced the darkness and bitterness of Hedwig with the showgirl comedian side of her. Rebecca Naomi Jones deserves a shoutout as well, because girl can SANG. Anyway, bottom line, it was unbelievable and I’d recommend it to anyone who is lucky enough to be able to make it to NYC during the run. SO in conclusion here is a stage door photo dump, click ‘em for captions.