"I want to be acting some more now," Mitchell said after receiving a Special Tony Award June 7. "I'm very spoiled, though, because I got to say whatever I wanted to from night to night. I certainly took advantage of that."
Mitchell starred in the original Off-Broadway production of Hedwig, which he co-wrote with Stephen Trask, at the Jane Street Theatre, earning an Obie Award and an Outer Critics Circle nomination. He also starred as Hedwig in a 2001 film version he directed. His acting credits also include The Secret Garden, Six Degrees of Separation and "Girls," and he has directed "Rabbit Hole" and "Shortbus."
The Broadway production of Hedwig first starred Neil Patrick Harris, who won the Tony Award for his performance. Michael C. Hall then took over the lead role, and Mitchell followed Hall. Darren Criss now stars.
Passionate fans of "internationally ignored song stylist" Hedwig, a transgender rocker, rejoiced at Michell's return, traveling from across the country and world to watch Mitchell perform the role he created.
"Every night was a dream," Mitchell said. "So many fans come in… the love right from the beginning. There was nothing hard about it. Everything was pure pleasure. It was a marathon. I'm glad they got extended. It was a perfect amount of time. Any longer and I might have collapsed and broken another leg. Any shorter, and I wouldn't have had enough." Read more about Mitchell's first performance as Hedwig on Broadway here.
Despite the years that had passed since Mitchell hung up the wig, he said stepping back into Hedwig's heels was, after an initial fear, surprisingly easy.
"I really was scared I couldn't do it," Mitchell confessed. "I had to do a lot of work with Liz Caplan, my wonderful teacher. I had to tone down the choreography but also make it more my own, which is what I did my first time. I got great work from Jerry Mitchell and kind of adapted it for my own body. I don't like being choreographed to a T. I like to take steps and make them my own."
She's Back and Ready to Rock! Brand New Pics of John Cameron Mitchell in Hedwig
Mitchell, who said he had retired from performing after his first run as Hedwig came to a close, now hopes to return to acting, listing plays by Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter as some of the works he would like to take on. Another classic role he mentioned on his bucket list is the lead in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.
"I'd like to do some female roles again. I'd love to do Blanche," he said. "That would be cool, right?"
(Carey Purcell is the Features Editor of Playbill.com. Her work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com as well as in the pages of Playbill magazine. Follow her on Twitter @PlaybillCarey.)