Michael Cerveris, who took over the lead role in the hit Off-Broadway musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch this past summer when star John Cameron Mitchell was on vacation, will return to the part when Mitchell exits the show next year.
Both Cerveris and show spokesman Tom D'Ambrosio (of the James Morrison office) confirmed the cast change. However, as of Dec. 3, the actual date original star John Cameron Mitchell will leave Hedwig hasn't been finalized. (According to D'Ambrosio, Jan. 4, 1999 is most likely for the changeover.) Mitchell's departure coincides with demands made on the actor by recent deals to bring Hedwig to movie houses and record stores.
Cerveris stepped into John Cameron Mitchell's platform shoes July 8 to Aug. 4. Prior to that, his most recent New York performance was as ship architect Thomas Andrews in Titanic. Cerveris, who starred as the adult title character in The Who's Tommy on Broadway, recently arranged a concert version of Tommy in Offenbach, Germany, to raise money to establish a therapy center there for disabled children.
Atlantic Records publicist Bobbie Gale told Playbill On-Line that Mitchell, composer Stephen Trask and his band Cheater planned to go into an unnamed New York studio in November with producer Brad Wood. Wood is known for his work on the albums of alt rock artist Liz Phair. (Gale was out of the office the week of Nov. 30, so there's no confirmation yet on whether the tracks were laid down.)
The record would be accompanied by a single release, along with a video to support it. Atlantic has not decided which single will be promoted, but Gale said the creative team is leaning towards "Midnight Radio." The album is scheduled to hit stores Jan. 5, 1999. The show's team has also signed with New Line Pictures to turn the stage show into a movie. Mitchell will write the screenplay and direct the movie. 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.
Gale said that there might eventually be two Hedwig albums, the first one documenting the stage version, and a second recording of the movie soundtrack.
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.
-- By Robert Simonson