PREVIEW:  HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH

Weekly Dig
Experience
By: Rob De La Teja
June 9, 2011

 


Hedwig+Yitzhak4EVER—and at
Church?!

It’s time to put on your fiercest makeup and get that wig out of storage, because the indestructible Hedwig is once again making her way to the Boston stage. The three-night engagement at Church is part of the East German girlyboy’s slip of a whirlwind Northeast tour beginning in Portland, Maine and ending with a two-week engagement in Provincetown.

Of course, Hedwig, the brainchild of John Cameron Mitchell (Shortbus, Rabbit Hole) and Stephen Trask, only exists in fiction, but Hedwig and the Angry Inch isn’t a musical—it’s a narrated rock show. Hedwig is not a character in the show. She is the show. For the Church production, the man behind the wig is none other than glam artist and local rock scenester Gene Dante of Gene Dante and the Future Starlets. Having donned Hed’s wig for a production at the ICA in 2002, Dante & Co. are ready to revive this bitch yet again.

“I always say I’ve never seen the difference between putting on a rock show and putting on any kind of live theater,” says Dante, a man who makes most of the Dig edit staff weak in the knees.  “It’s all different, but to say there aren’t heavy similarities between the two is just ignorant.”

Backing up Dante as “the Angry Inch” are The Future Starlets, with his manager, Lisa van Oosterum, reprising her 2002 role as Hedwig’s spiteful lover/backup vocalist Yitzhak (a woman playing a man who wants to play a man that wants to be a woman. Suck on that, Freud). Dante and van Oosterum have been collaborators since they met on a European tour of the The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1998.

“Since the last production, our relationship has grown a lot stronger,” van Oosterum, says. “I think that makes the dynamic between Yitzhak and Hedwig that much stronger this time around.” Instead of planning a grandiose return to the stage, Dante preferred to keep true to the show’s roots by performing in venues with a capacity of fewer than 200. “Hedwig is a struggling artist,” Dante explained. “She’s playing O’Brien’s, she’s playing T.T.’s and she’s playing the All Asia Cafe. She’s not playing the House of Blues.” A translation for our out-of-town friends—she plays dives and independent rock clubs. Minimalist garbage-chic décor and a bitchin’ wig are to be expected.

Yet despite his onstage charisma and desire to reprise his role as Hedwig, Dante still isn’t entirely comfortable about wearing a dress. In spite of his glam persona, his drag experience outside the Hedwig world is almost nonexistent.

“Makeup and stuff like that, well that’s old hat,” Dante said, “but I just like playing a guy. It’s a two-hour prep for me to become Hedwig, and it has to be perfect. I couldn’t do that for every day of my life."

 

**Read Original Article HERE**