Though John Cameron Mitchell is no longer playing the lead in his Hedwig and the Angry Inch Off-Broadway, his performance has been preserved for posterity (at least on disk). Atlantic Records releases the show's long-awaited cast recording Feb. 9.
Atlantic Records publicist Bobbie Gale told Playbill On-Line that Mitchell, composer Stephen Trask and his band Cheater went into a New York studio in November 1998 with producer Brad Wood. Wood is known for his work on the albums of alt rock artist Liz Phair.
The record is being accompanied by a single release of "Midnight Radio," along with a video to support it. The album was initially scheduled to hit stores Jan. 5, 1999.
Michael Cerveris, who took over the lead role in the hit musical this past summer when star Mitchell was on vacation, returned to the part Jan. 4. Mitchell exited the show Jan. 3. Mitchell's departure coincided with demands made on the actor by recent deals to bring Hedwig to movie houses and record stores.
Gale said there might eventually be two Hedwig albums, the first one documenting the stage version, and a second recording of the soundtrack to a planned film version produced by New Line Pictures. Mitchell will write the screenplay and direct. He told NYC rock radio deejay Vin Scelsa (Feb. 7), the movie deal was just inked last week, giving Mitchell the option to direct. Mitchell told Scelsa he will likely co direct. (His ideal director would have been the late Hal Ashby.) The film was reported in Variety as being budgeted at $3.5 million. It is unclear whether the film will match the stage version of the story, which is told within the context of a concert by singer Hedwig, or whether the flick with flesh out the title transsexual's far-flung tale, which takes her from Eastern Germany to the United States. No shooting schedule has been set, and a spokesperson at the James LL Morrison press office said (Jan. 15) the screenplay had not yet been written.
Cerveris first stepped into John Cameron Mitchell's platform shoes July 8 to Aug. 4, 1998. Prior to that, his most recent New York performance was as ship architect Thomas Andrews in Titanic. He's also been touring with singer/songwriter/guitarist Bob Mould. Cerveris, who starred as the adult title character in The Who's Tommy on Broadway, also recently arranged a concert version of Tommy in Offenbach, Germany, to raise money to establish a therapy center there for disabled children.
Hedwig was written by its star, Mitchell (book), and Trask (music and lyrics). Mitchell plays the title singer, an obscure and tortured German-American 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 and information on Hedwig and the Angry Inch call (212) 239-6200.
-- By Robert Simonson and David Lefkowitz