Haven Theatre Chicago presents their inaugural production, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH.
Playwright John Cameron Mitchell turned an original story into a cult classic. His heroine is an East German rock-n-roll singer. She used to be Hansel and now she’s an “internationally ignored song stylist” named Hedwig. Her show is part rock and roll concert, part stand-up comedy and part intimate evening with a stranger. The results is a head-bopping, side-splitting, heart-tugging tour de force.
Ryan Lanning (Hedwig) is a high-energy, audacious entertainer. At times, Lanning is sitting meekly with his head in an oven. Other times, he is sitting straddling an audience member. All the time, he is putting on a show. His storytelling and singing feel organically personal like this thought just occurred to him and now he is sharing it for the first time. At one point, as the cell phone behind me goes off (come on, rude people!), Lanning momentarily breaks his monologue to improvise, “Hello! It just needed to be said.” Classy!
Lanning’s disclosure is an honest balance of self deprecation and self absorbed. His painful reflections are riddled with hilarity. When he faces off with his back-up singer Lauren Paris, he jumps up and down to get to a higher note. Paris continually wins with her powerhouse vocals.
Composer and lyricist Stephen Trask provided an unforgettable soundtrack for this show. And under the stellar musical direction of Kory Danielson, this band rocks it out. If you know the songs, it’ll be hard not to sing along. Luckily, Lanning will give you an opportunity with the popular “Wig in a Box.” Lanning invites the audience to sing with him about putting on some make up. For the sassy “Sugar Daddy” or soulful “Origin of Love,” the audience should leave it up to the singers onstage… because they sound sensational.
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is a unique, theatrical experience. It’s funny. It’s loud. It’s thought-provoking. It’s a perfect late night alternative to the ordinary.
Running Time: Ninety minutes with no intermission
At Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont
Written by John Cameron Mitchell
Lyrics and music by Stephen Trask
Directed by Kyle Trent
Musical direction by Kory Danielson
Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30pm
Sundays at 6pm
Thru August 11th
Buy Tickets at www.theaterwit.org