Advertisement
  1. Stage

Review: 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' measures up

Published Sep. 17, 2013

She stood there, tears rolling down her cheeks. The glamor, the glitter meant nothing. She collapsed to the floor after the song. She finally had been broken.

That wasn't how it ended, or how it began, but it was among the most gripping scenes from Jobsite Theater's full throttle season opener, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, at Shimberg Playhouse.

Hedwig, played by Spencer Meyers, isn't your normal protagonist. She's saucy, eccentric and transgendered. A botched sex change operation left her with "an angry inch," now also the name of her misfit band, which she uses to cope and express her bizarre chain of life events. Music is her medicine and the audience finds her in the middle of a breakdown, or breakthrough.

From the moment she opened her glitter flecked ruby lips, Hedwig captivated the audience with her candor, humor and charisma. Behind the German accent and Farrah Fawcett blond waves was a woman, formerly a man, who struggled to be whole. She finds love and it leaves her, more than once. There was the American, Luther, she escaped Germany with; and the teenage boy who forgot her after she taught him the art of music and went on to be a famous rock star; then her unhappy husband, Yitzhak, whom she used as a crutch. Through the series of let downs in love and constantly giving something up, Hedwig embodied perseverance, transcendence and hope.

She's part man, part woman, part rock star, part goddess and fully human. Between the ballads, wigs and sexual entendres, Hedwig has real conviction, a determination to find what makes her complete. There are tears coated in comedy, glitter in the gut of regret.

It's a familiar tale of self-discovery many musicals attempt. The rather no-frills production allowed the poetic writing of John Cameron Mitchell and the unlikely character of Hedwig to explode in a memorable rock 'n' roll saga of the cult favorite. Meyers gave a phenomenal portrayal of Hedwig and fully committed to her spirit musically and characteristically, never faltering from the face of the unconventional role.

Despite being secondary roles, the band members of the Angry Inch, played by Jonathan Cho, Jana Doan, Woody Bond and the angelic-voiced Amy Gray (also Yitzhak), provided the live backbone to seamlessly execute the story on stage.

Setting aside notions about gender and love permits the audience to realize that the performance is not only a story about Hedwig, but a story about us all: our journeys and paths of self-discovery, identity and what makes us whole.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Kevin James appears in his 2018 Netflix special "Don't Never Give Up." Courtesy of KC Bailey
    Plus, ‘Once on This Island,’ the Tampa Bay Symphony and the Florida Orchestra.
  2. John Leguizamo will bring his one-man show "Latin History for Morons" to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa on Nov. 17. Courtesy of Matthew Murphy
    Plus, how his ‘House of Buggin’ became ‘Mad TV’ and a dream project about a Hispanic Oscar Schindler. Leguizamo’s one-man show comes to the Straz Center on Nov. 17.
  3. "Fiddler on the Roof" is at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. Courtesy of Joan Marcus
    The revival of a pointed story about tradition stays close to the source. | Review
  4. Comic John Crist has canceled his upcoming tour, including a May 10, 2020 concert at Tampa's Yuengling Center, following a report by the Christian publication Charisma News alleging multiple instances of sexual misconduct. Courtesy of John Crist
    The viral star’s Netflix special and tour are on hold after a report alleging sexual misconduct.
  5. Julie Andrews will appear in conversation at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Nov. 13. Courtesy of Andrew Eccles
    The 84-year-old Hollywood icon will discuss her new autobiography this week at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
  6. Julie Andrews arrives at the Los Angeles Philharmonic 2015-16 season opening gala at Walt Disney Concert Hall. RICHARD SHOTWELL  |  Invision/AP
    Plus, comics Jay Mohr and Cristela Alonso, the Florida Orchestra’s ‘Deep Field’ with Eric Whitacre and more.
  7. Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater is undergoing a $12 million renovation/ expansion. Progress is seen here Wednesday, October 30, 2019. SCOTT KEELER  |  Times
    The 6,000-square-foot entryway opens this weekend, showcasing the venue’s most extensive facelift to date.
  8. Jobsite Theater's "The Thanksgiving Play" features Caitlin Eason, Giles Davies, Dana Mauro and Adam Workman. It runs through Nov. 17 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for Performing Arts in Tampa. Courtesy of Jobsite Theater
    Larissa FastHorse’s witty satire at Jobsite Theater mocks political correctness as well as theater itself. | Review
  9. "Fiddler on the Roof" will come to the Straz Center in Tampa on Tuesday as part of its 2019-20 Broadway series. Courtesy of Joan Marcus
    Plus, Mo’Nique, Bianca Del Rio and more.
  10. Bianca Del Rio will perform at the Straz Center in Tampa on Thursday. Courtesy of Rene Koala
    The ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ winner will headline Tampa’s Straz Center on Halloween night.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement