It is the Holiday season, so treat yo’ self! Get tickets NOW for Stillpointe’s production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Ottobar this Thursday night! There is only one performance left and you don’t want to miss this spectacular event!
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a rock/theater event that is led by Hedwig, a genderqueer front woman. She agrees to a sex-change operation in East Germany to marry her sugar daddy lover- but the surgery is botched. After coming to America, her husband leaves her, and she creates her alter identity- a glamorous rock star backed by her band- the Angry Inch. As Hedwig babysits for a family in town, and begins a relationship with a young Christian and naïve teen named Tommy Speck. As they write songs and begin an affair, Tommy becomes disgusted by her mutilated sex organs, and begins to find his own stardom as a rock star deemed “Tommy Gnosis”- a name Hedwig gave him herself. As Tommy plays “Ravens stadium” down the street, Hedwig becomes more and more irritated and unhinged while performing at the Ottobar with her band and her new husband, Yitzhak.
Adam Cooley plays a strong, convincing and completely entertaining Hedwig. His German dead-pan humor, his slips of accent, and his ability to transform and imitate Tommy Gnosis as he spins the torrid tale of his past seal this utterly mesmerizing performance. From his winged wig, to mascara stains running down his face, his performance was captivating and looked utterly exhausting. Hedwig did enjoy Baltimore’s best beer, a Natty Boh while playing, and then recounted for all of us how he has drunk from urinals that tasted better. The slight changes to ground the performance in Baltimore culture was a nice touch that was not wasted on the spunky audience.
Yitzhak is played by Lex Holzer, and her visceral disgust for Hedwig mixed with tender love seems authentic and difficult to watch- so she nailed it. Her singing voice is amazing and does eclipse Hedwig’s so it is best that she isn’t given the spotlight until the bitter end. And even though Yitzhak has been told not to dress in drag anymore- we all get glimpses of him trying on wigs when he thinks Hedwig isn’t looking, or needs a reminder to humble herself. Yitzhak is often the one who also opens the curtain, peeking in Tommy’s performance down the street blaring from the television set, another subtle gesture to remind Hedwig that she doesn’t control everything.
The band was completely on point! I have seen rock shows at the Ottobar by touring bands that sounded A LOT less put together. Mad props to Jeff Palladino on bass, David Gregory on guitar, Spencer Sinnott on drums, and Stacey Antoine on piano. The stage is small, and Hedwig’s antics often take over but this band did not miss a beat, moved skillfully around the pandemonium and props, and kept perfect time and rhythm. You guys rock!
My only complaint to my most fabulous evening is that it is open standing room only. (Hey- it is the Ottobar) Doors open at 8, show starts at 9, and in true rock star fashion (not theater hold time) the show did not start until 9:30. That was a long night of standing around in rock in roll high heeled shoes.
SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO? Go, and don’t wait! There were over 100 people when I attended on 12/21, so I can imagine the next show’s capacity! Rock out, and enjoy! Bleat those lyrics along with Hedwig, hold your Boh high, and sing along to Hedwig’s “Wig in a box” anthem. Just, wear sensible shoes despite your efforts to look punk as fuck. (I)