Hedwig and the Angry Inch | Peabody Opera House

Emotional and believable, Euan Morton shines in this production.

With one of the most bombastic shows ever to grace the stages, St. Louisans were treated to the Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Peabody Opera House. Having just played Broadway to critical acclaim, the show is now touring the States. Colorful, eccentric, and full of rock music charm, Hedwig is a fantastic ride into the life of its title character.

The play is told from the point of view of Hedwig herself. A child of wartime East Berlin, she was born male, and proceeds to have a sex change operation in order to marry and leave the occupied side of Germany. She dreams of the West, and falls in love with the rock and punk music scene there. Yet, in order to get to America, she must marry—thus the sex change. However, the doctor botches the operation, leaving Hedwig with simply an inch-sized mound of flesh, effectively making her genderless.

She then meets and falls in love with Tommy Speck, with whom she begins writing songs. She renames him Tommy Gnosis and plans on rock stardom. However, when Tommy realizes that Hedwig is genderless, he leaves her. He takes the music they wrote together and becomes an enormous rock star, leaving Hedwig behind. Hedwig then follows Gnosis’s very successful arena tour, playing dive clubs adjourning these arenas. On occasion, she opens the stage door, hearing the roar of the crowd cheering for Gnosis.

Worse yet, shortly after coming to the West, the Berlin Wall falls down, making her surgery and struggle worth nothing. As Gnosis gets more and more popular, Hedwig becomes increasingly bitter. She then marries a drag queen named Yithzak, but insists he hang up his wig and dress, leaving his drag career behind, and leaving Hedwig the spotlight.

Playing Hedwig on this tour is Euan Morton, most known for his portrayal of Boy George in the musical Taboo. Vocally phenomenal, his stage presence is felt all the way to the back row. His performance as Hedwig is over the top, as it should be. Emotional and believable, Morton shines in this production. His backing band rocked the house and added to the concert atmosphere, playing their parts with precision and passion.

Portraying her husband, Yithzak, is Hannah Corneau, making her Broadway National Tour debut. Abused and degraded by Hedwig, he remains devoted to her. There is much more to Hedwig’s story, but I shall save that for the theater.

This was one of the best musicals I have ever seen. I expect a strong cult following to surround this Broadway production. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a sad, moving story told through rock ’n’ roll. With colorful characters and top-notch music, this story will thrill thousands of fans. Hedwig is a beautiful tale of how cruel life can be, and how in finding yourself, you find peace and forgiveness for others.

A truly remarkable spectacle—you will love every minute! | Marc Farr

Photo by Joan Marcus

About Marc Farr 238 Articles
Marc Farr is the Live Music & Assignments Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. He's so invaluable to us, we've nicknamed him Mr. Music. Reach out if you have coverage ideas! "I know it's only rock and roll...but I like it!"
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