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 Jan. 3, 1999.
Mitchell's departure coincides with demands made on the actor by recent deals to bring Hedwig to movie houses and record stores.
It's a big holiday week for Hedwig. On New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, Cerveris (as Hedwig) and the band Cheater will open for the band Culture Club at Radio City Music Hall. The same day, the regular show will have two performances featuring Mitchell.
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.
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 with producer Brad Wood. Wood is known for his work on the albums of alt rock artist Liz Phair. 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 was initially scheduled to hit stores Jan. 5, 1999 but is now not expected until February 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