Lena Hall, who won a Tony Award for her performance as Yitzhak in the Broadway debut of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, recently made history as the first actor to play both Hedwig and Yitzhak in the same production. Hall took on the title role for select performances in the musical's national tour—also starring Darren Criss—which kicked off last month. (Euan Morton and Hannah Corneau recently stepped into the tour's leading roles.)
“It was very interesting to do both roles in one day,” Hall told Playbill.com at the New York Stage and Film Gala on December 4. “It wasn’t hard to switch because they’re so completely different... I was sad that I only got to do it eight times. I wasn’t able to get into a rhythm and really work on it and make it grow. I’m hoping that they’ll give me my own run so that I’ll be able to really make a statement.”
While Hall was not able to confirm a return to the title role in her own run of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, she opened up about her own personal connection to the show.
“Hedwig will always be timeless,” she said. “The message of the show is [about] finding your other half and that other half being you—that you are whole and you are enough. So many people need to hear that. We’re bombarded with all these messages: 'You have to buy this to feel great, or have this much money to be great, or you have to look like this...’ instead of going internally and finding peace with yourself and loving yourself first.”
“It’s a journey that I’ve been going on myself,” she continued. “The show reflects that. I love the show. I think it’s a perfect, beautiful piece of theatre that is grossly underrated.”
For Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch benefits from something different by having a woman, rather than a man, in the title role. The rock musical is about the experiences of Hedwig, an East German transgender singer whose story is both inspiring and heartbreaking.
“I found it was a much more powerful ending for women’s empowerment,” she said. “At the end, I really had nothing left that was covering up who I am. I felt that the impact of that—as a woman—is different to [when] a man [does it]… For me, to just stand up there and be that, it was empowering for everyone. It wasn’t gratuitous, it was a statement about being who I am as I am right now…. It was a really cool moment.”
Hall kicked off the winter gala with a performance of “Feeling Good” from The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd, which Santino Fontana adapted and was presented at New York Stage & Film and Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater this past summer. The New York Stage and Film Gala took place at the Plaza Hotel in New York, honoring Annette Bening and David Rockwell. Scroll through photos from the evening below.
See Annette Bening and David Rockwell Honored by New York Stage and Film
Tony winner Hall is currently preparing for the release of Becks, Daniel Powell and Elizabeth Rohrbaugh’s film about a Brooklyn musician who moves back in with her Midwestern mother after a crushing breakup. The film's release date will soon be announced.