Neil Patrick Harris (NPH) has been a big name since he played on Doogie Howser M.D. in 1989. His success continues in film and television including How I Met Your Mother and the Harold and Kumar franchise. Ever since he saw the musical City of Angels, his love of theater has blossomed. Neil Patrick Harris stars as a transgendered individual in Hedwig and the Angry Inch who had a botched transgender surgery in order to leave East Germany to marry a U.S. soldier she fell in love with. Hedwig is now the front woman for a rock and roll band. The original role was played by Jerry Mitchell on off-Broadway in 1998. According to IMDb, in 2001 there was even a movie adapted, directed by, and starring John Cameron Mitchell. It is definitely edgy and ahead of its time, but it has been receiving great reviews so far.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a one woman show and NPH never leaves the stage. This role is really going to test Harris as an actor; It will either be a hit or miss. He also likes to play off the audience, which brings in the effect of improv quite seamlessly. Also, he has contacted Mitchell to gain insight on how he played the character. This will only be shown in New York City, as it is a musical on Broadway. As a fan, if given the chance, it is a must attend Broadway show. This role is completely different from the womanizer he played on How I Met Your Mother. Harris has said he wants to play a different role and in Hedwig and the Angry Inch he is as far as you can get from suits and ties. Also, he will have no understudy, which is very rare in the industry.
In an interview with TimeOut he seemed unconcerned by not having an understudy. He felt it would bring more to the role if he happened to have a scratchy throat. One thing to remember is this show is very open to improv, so if Hedwig was to have a scratchy throat or cold it could come across as humorous. These songs are very lyrical and tell a great story. It’s almost poetic in a way. The character of Hedwig is very complex, and as the show progresses the audience will see all of the layers slowly being pulled back. They found a great idea to explain why Hedwig is performing at the Belasco. No spoilers here, but why she is in this particular place might not be so surprising.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch will be opening up on April 22, 2014 and is currently being directed by Micheal Mayer. Harris made sure to do plenty of research, including icons such as Tina Turner, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, and David Bowie. This musical is teaching the history of drag and how controversial it is being a transgender individual today. Keep in mind that transgender is still widely frowned upon into today’s society. The transformation into Hedwig takes nearly two hours to accomplish. Hedwig and the Angry Inch has a cult following hopefully Neil Patrick Harris will not disappoint.
Opinion by Heather Tillman