Okay guys, I saw Hedwig on tour on Saturday and it was everything. Shannon Conley was on for Yitzhak and Sean Liljequist as Krzyhtoff. And just a reminder that I’ve seen Hedwig once before with Darren Criss on Broadway, so when I make comparisons, I’m referring to that production. So I noticed one of the songs they play before the show is Wasted by Lena Hall’s band the Deafening, so I thought that was really cool how they did that. I believe the set was different, but just with the car and stuff, and Hedwig does not come down like in the Broadway production, she simply appears from the back.
Okay so Tear Me Down is so gritty and just opens up this show perfectly. Hedwig flashes the middle finger, he spits off stage, he licks Skszp’s guitar. I mean, what more could you really ask for out of a rock show? It’s the ultimate jam that defies the odds and the haters out there and that’s why I love it. By the way, Hedwig has pink tips now and I really dug it. I’m pretty sure that’s new for the tour. Also during the opening, my mom told me Euan does a joke about Darren, but I missed it so if anyone knows, please tell me, I’d love to know! And when Hedwig listens to the radio, Yitzhak sings the songs on the radio and Shannon’s voice is beautiful!! Especially, when she sings I Will Always Love You. I legit need my own version of it. Origin of Love is so pretty, yet so powerful. I always think it’s a soft song when I listen to it at home, but it’s a beast hearing it live. And the video they show that goes along with it, it’s so beautiful. There’s just so much beauty to take away from that moment.
I LOVE when Yitzhak opens the door to hear Tommy’s concert. The sound and the lights is so realistic. Like, I genuinely believe that a Tommy Gnosis concert is going on right there. And how Yitzhak only opens the door to get back at Hedwig. Every time, he opens the door it’s right after Hedwig makes fun of him for something. It’s his revenge against her and I think it’s really cool how Yitzhak shows it. He knows it’s gonna piss Hedwig off. Another part I really love is when Tommy feels Hedwig’s angry inch and asks “what’s that” and he goes “that is what I have to work with.” And Tommy goes “You know I love you.” And Hedwig goes, “then love the FRONT OF ME!” And it gets me so hard. Hedwig just seems so crushed when he says it, especially after thinking Tommy was the one. Euan was a very emotional, yet funny Hedwig. He does a lot of improv and the line (one of my favs), “I laugh because I will cry if I don’t” described his performance. Some of his funniest moments was when he walked down into the aisle to give someone his towel and when he walked back up the stairs, he goes “I only walk up and down the stairs so you can look at my ass.” And one time, the microphone wire got caught on the chair and he yelled “get off”, and was like “oh no Yitzhak never said get off.” He joked about his hair being a telephone that he uses for emergencies. He talked about going to McDonald’s and only getting unhappy meals, he said he had appointments in his agenda, but more disappointments. He joked about getting kicked out of a gender neutral bathroom , and when the audience agreed with a question he asked, he said, “Well, the popular vote doesn’t always win.”
Euan’s Tommy and Luther voices were superb. His voice is actually really gorgeous. When he just sang naturally and un Hedwig-like, he had a lovely tone. He played Boy George in Taboo, so I got some Boy George vibes, but really beautiful voice. Sugar Daddy is an exuberance of fun, and he picked an older guy to give a car wash to, and a girl’s boyfriend to kiss. When Angry Inch started I just frickin died and was like slay my life, Hedwig, slay it. And she did. Wig in a Box is the ultimate get your mojo back song and I just get super happy for Hedwig when she’s like “I’m never turning back!” Um okay, Wicked Little Town was a highlight for me along with Midnight Radio. I think Euan really felt the song and he just killed the second part of the show. I think he really dug some of the songs and stuff. So WLT gets me emotional anyway, but the fact that Hedwig is singing to a young Tommy, you can just tell, it’s written on his face. And then he blows the kiss to Tommy and afterwards you can tell the audience is just like hmm wow. And then Wicked Little Town reprise just gives me the feeling like it’s just me, that song, and the universe is perfectly aligned. That’s legit how it makes me feel. And then Tommy blows a kiss and it just comes full circle and gives me feelings. I believe the platform he stands on was shorter and did not twist around like the one on Broadway.
Shannon slays The Long Grift, especially at the end. The lyrics in Hedwig’s Lament kill me and how it goes right into Exquisite Corpse is crazy and is just like RIP me. So much happens in Exquisite Corpse. It’s a work of art. I know, the lights are difficult for people to see, but it’s what makes this number sooo good. Hedwig whips her wig off, yells at Yitzhak, takes out two tomatoes from her bra and throws them somewhere, and stumbles off. Yitzhak grabs Hedwig’s wig, falls to the ground and holds her wig up to the sky. He then proceeds to run around, crashing into band members until there is a black out and we are at Tommy’s concert. And damn is it good. After Tommy’s concert, we’re back at Hedwig’s show and it’s just complete silence and the change in lights is stunning and then those first strums of Midnight Radio come on (which could revive me) and Hedwig feels complete and I feel complete and I feel so happy and understood and I, like, love life. And it’s crazy and it’s just a celebration and I lose my shit and it’s just like LIFT UP YOUR HANDS.
I’d like to give a HUGE shout out to the band!!! They’re absolutely incredible. They play live every show and have to be prepared for anything. And of course, Euan, the hard work each actor puts into Hedwig is absolutely amazing and he is no exception. I did stage door (was after a matinee, though), but I met Justin Craig (Skszp) and Shannon Conley (Yitzhak u/s). Shannon was super nice and just sat and talked for as long as you wanted. She was the sweetest. And she’s so cool and bad ass as everyone knows. And if you stage door, bring a silver sharpie. It’s a black playbill.
If you want to know anything about the show, actors, stage door, the Hurt Locker playbill, or just anything about Hedwig, please tell me! I. LOVE. This. Show.
So I’ve posted a couple things saying that I do ship Hedwig and Tommy Gnosis…that is if they are two different people. I’ve seen the bootleg with Andrew Rannells about 7 times now lol and I saw him live in the musical last September! And today I just watched the original movie the first time and I’ve been thinking more about Hedwig and Tommy…my opinions continue to change. Theories think that the two are are the same person. That since Hedwig was forced into sex operation, he didn’t necessarily want to be female…that there is part of him that is still male. Tommy Gnosis. Tommy Gnosis is perhaps the male side of Hedwig who was created to fulfill the “origin of love” belief. Tommy was supposed to be Hedwig’s other half. And at the end, Hedwig learns to accept that she is enough. She can be both masculine and feminine…hence in WLT(reprise) when “Tommy” sings “more than a woman or a man”. Because Hedwig can be both. WLT(reprise) is what always stumped me. At the end of Exquisite Corpse we see Hedwig rip off her wig and then suddenly it’s Tommy Gnosis on stage. Well that’s what it seemed to me at first. That Tommy was his own person…but then Midnight Radio. We realize that it’s Hedwig who is singing because she lets Yitzhak become Crystal and gives him chance to be the star he wanted to be. Although still dressed as Gnosis we have to assume that it’s Hedwig because Tommy and Yitzhak never cross paths. But now looking back at it, my opinions have changed on WLT (reprise) at first I thought it was a dedication to Hedwig out of love. But perhaps the clarity Tommy sings about in WLT(reprise) is just Hedwig realizing that she is enough. “And now I understand how much I took from you.” And “there’s nothing you can find that cannot be found”.
My mind is all over the place. Part of me believes that Tommy was completely real. They learned so much from each other and were in love. Don’t mistake my shipping them as saying that Hedwig wasn’t complete until she met Tommy. That Hedwig NEEDS another person to be whole…she doesn’t but as she says about love bring immortal “Perhaps it’s because love creates something that wasn’t there before”. Perhaps their relationship was real and WLT(reprise) was Tommy’s way of thanking Hedwig for everything.
Although my mind now leads toward the possibility that Tommy was created by Hedwig. It makes more sense when you look at the musical and the movie. Specifically the musical though. Hedwig plays tommy gnosis! And in Exquisite Corpse, she distinctly rips the wig off and becomes tommy.And then WLT (reprise) is the clarity that Hedwig is whole.
So last night i got to see Darren as Hedwig for the 2nd time, I also saw opening night. I’m going to put most of this under the cut( no spoilers visible!), but a few things to mention first:
1. I’m a queer trans man. I’ve adored hedwig for almost a decade, and it’s influenced my life in so many important ways. I’ve been a fan of Darren going on 7 years, the same can be said for him.
2. My seat last night was AA108( if you don’t know what that means, it’s covered in the spoilery section). For the record: I did not specifically try to get this seat. I specifically tried to get front row, and this happened to be the one that was open on a night I could go.
3. If I had to explain Hedwig in one sentence it would be this: An exploration of the intersection of power, gender/sexuality,agency; and there effect on the cycle of abuse.
Despite Darren’s claims on twitter that he may have eaten too much earlier there was no sign of any sluggishness tonight.
The crowd was mixed tonight, but very receptive and Darren was on fire - deservedly receiving a standing O.
Tonight I was third row centre. This is a magical spot, that not only provided abundant leg room, but was also level with Hedwig’s mic centre stage so Darren was right in front of me. This was different to Tues when I was basically James Franco at the back…… Tonight the show kicked off with energy from the start and didn’t let up. There were no hiccups with this performance.
Sitting close is a different experience. You pick up on the subtleties of the dynamics between Yitzhak and Hedwig, it becomes clear just how Yitzhak helps with the technicalities of the performance and the tender and spiteful moments between them are more intense. Especially when Yitzhak spits at Hedwig after a tender moment following the long grift.
The whole scene with Tommy and Hedwig leading up to and including the long grift was intensely moving. Hedwig so wants acceptance (to feel whole) and Tommy’s rejection of her is devastating. Again the absolute silence from audience (even from the guy next to me, who I would say was tonight’s biggest heckler) shows how involved the audience was with her storstory.
This Hedwig is sassy, angry and masculine and her physical presence dominates the stage to the point I almost forgot about the band until Hedwig acknowledged them. That’s how much focus she pulls.
Sugar daddy was wonderfully rowdy and great to see up close, but the chairs aren’t really suitable for climbing so Darren gripped the guy’s head to help his balance again.
There was no applause following the WLT reprise tonight and the change back to Hedwig seemed to take longer than it did on Tuesday, but again no-one uttered a word, Darren is pretty much in charge of the audience by now.
I loved Midnight Radio and to me it seems that once Hedwig found that self acceptance she also allows that softer, dare I say feminine side to appear. I have always seen the dancing here as Hedwig finally rejoicing in the feeling of just being.
Darren’s voice is so good live, there wasn’t a single note he missed. Was I aware I was watching Darren? Yes, more so tonight as I was up close, but I did begin to forget, but as the show goes on the eyebrows begin to make a reappearance and obviously by the end - we are all aware its him.
I could go on…… Lena requires a separate post of her own. If you go to see this please buy the best seats you can afford because as good as this show is it hits another level close up.
PS. Mason confirmed that it will be going to the West End soon . I know there’s not been much said about that recently.