Ally Sheedy will make her debut as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Sept. 20. The film actress was originally expected to bow a week earlier, but her appearance earlier this month at the Telluride Film Festival to promote the film "I'll Take You There" caused her to miss several rehearsals.
Sheedy starred in such mid-80s teen comedies as "The Breakfast Club" and "St. Elmo's Fire." Her career was long on the down side, however, when the 1998 art film "High Art" brought her back into the public eye. In that movie, Sheedy played lesbian, drug-addled, has-been photographer.
Sheedy will be the first female to play the part of the tortured German transsexual rocker. To date, only male actors have filled the role: the show's creator John Cameron Mitchell, Michael Cerveris and Kevin Cahoon.
During the extra week before Sheedy's start as Hedwig, rocker and sometime actor (and full-time son of pop star Donovan [sic]) Donovan Leitch filled as the lead. During Sheedy's run, he will play the role at certain performances. Exactly which shows Leitch will star in has not been stipulated.
Leitch is the lead singer of the group Nancy Boy. Leitch's father, the single-named Donovan, made his mark in the 60s with such pyschedelia- tinged hit songs as "Sunshine Superman" and "Mellow Yellow." As an actor, Leitch has appeared in the films "Gas, Food, Lodging" and "I Shot Andy Warhol." In other Hedwig news, the show begins a national tour this fall, as a new production starring Kevin Cahoon starts in Boston on Sept. 24. An L.A.-based show will commence on Oct. 24. Finally, a European troupe will start performances in Cologne, Germany, on Sept. 10.
Hedwig was written by its star, Mitchell (book), and Trask (music and lyrics). Leitch and Sheedy play the title singer, an obscure and tortured transsexual rock singer, who tells her darkly comic story while ostensibly performing a concert. The Angry Inch, her back-up band, is Trask's rock combo Cheater, a staple at such downtown New York clubs as CBGB's and Mercury Lounge. The musical has been playing at the Jane Street Theatre since Feb. 14, 1998. For tickets call (212) 239-6200.
-- By Robert Simonson