'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' rocks The Underground

Alec Schroeder plays Hedwig, a transgender rock star who shows people where there is despair, there is hope. Some would say she’s risqué; some would say she’s just unapologetic.

The Underground’s production of 2014 Tony Award-winning "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" will hold opening night on Thursday and will continue through Oct. 11.

Director Robert Lee is getting ready to have The Underground’s stage transformed into a rock concert at a dive bar. That’s where protagonist Hedwig, a transgender rock star, will tell her story. Hedwig, played by Alec Schroeder, is joined by her companion, Yitzhak, played by Tonya Porter. They share the stage with Duluth local band, Wily Vigil, which plays Hedwig’s band, The Angry Inch (Tyler Pimm, Abe Curran, Kyle Anderson).

Before she was Hedwig, he was Hansel. Hedwig undergoes a sex change in order to marry the man he loves. The operation flops however, leaving new Hedwig with a botched “angry inch” between her legs. When her husband soon leaves her, Hedwig forms a band called The Angry Inch to cope. This is where her journey begins; through a series of betrayals and disappointments, she delivers a comical and passionate performance. The musical is adapted from John Cameron Mitchell’s book with music and lyrics by Steven Trask.

“Hedwig is the triumphant freak. The hero for anyone who has ever felt different, out of place, pushed down, pushed out, spit on or cursed at – you know, everyone, “ Lee said. “She is calloused, but funny; Jaded, but witty; Different, but triumphant. She is deeply flawed and self destructive, but no one can tear her down.”


"Hedwig" is unique to the Broadway scene in that it’s performed as a glam rock gig and stand-up comedy routine, and its heroine is not by any means status quo. Lee believes Duluth will embrace Hedwig’s story, partly because it’s unexpectedly relatable.

“I always want people to leave the theater with hope. Sometimes we have to go through a lot of pain and despair and tears before we get to hope, but that all makes it that much sweeter. Hedwig is the same,” Lee said.

"Hedwig and the Angry Inch" will be at The Underground October 2-11 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for students. For more information, visit www.duluthpayhouse.org.

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