Hedwig, the transgendered rock singer who’s been holding court at Off Broadway’s Jane Street Theatre since Feb. 14, 1998, has had more lives than a cat (though perhaps not as many as Cats). However, like the feline musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is on its last legs. The show will close April 9, after 12 previews and 857 performances.
The surprise is not in the closing but in the extra two months of life brought to the show by a rave review in the New York Times. The producers had announced a closing date of Jan. 30. Then, Jan. 21, Times theatre critic Ben Brantley penned a rare, late-inning rave which asked "Do we really have to say goodnight to Hedwig?"
The answer was no. Hedwig quickly rescinded its closing notice and on Feb. 14 celebrated its second anniversary at the Jane Street Theatre.
Matt McGrath is the current Hedwig. He took over the lead role on Dec. 20, after Ally Sheedy -- the show's first female Hedwig -- abruptly left the production. McGrath's Off-Broadway credits include A Fair Country, Minutes from the Blue Route and Northeast Local.
Other Hedwigs have included Kevin Cahoon, Michael Cerveris, rocker Donavan Leitch and the show's co-author and original star, John Cameron Mitchell. Maggie Moore currently plays Hedwig’s sullen companion, Yitzak, Hedwig opened Feb. 14, 1998, to rave reviews, going on to win two Obie Awards and an Outer Critics Circle Award. The production inspired a cast recording (recently nominated for a Grammy Award), a short-lived L.A. mounting (starring Cerveris) and an upcoming film, supposed to start shooting in May, with originator John Cameron Mitchell both behind the camera and on screen. Christine Vachon ("Boys Don't Cry") is producing for New Line Cinema.
Hedwig was written by Mitchell (book), and Stephen Trask (music and lyrics). In the musical, the title singer, an obscure and tortured transsexual rock singer, 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.
Tickets range $20-$49.50. For information on Hedwig and the Angry Inch call (212) 239-6200, or consult the website at www.hedwig.com.
As for future Hedwig haunts, according to a production spokesperson at the Richard Kornberg office, John Forbes will produce Hedwig in Amsterdam in October. The show has already been seen in Boston and Los Angeles, the latter a box office disappointment despite receiving strong reviews.