A Cult Classic
This isn’t theater for the delicate or humdrum. This is theater for the all-out rock n’ roll, punk-loving, ready-for-a-sonic-explosion of entertainment audiences who want to be jolted and have a righteous good time. One of the most popular rock musicals ever, “Hedwig and The Angry Inch” opens at the Key West Theater Dec. 26 and runs through Jan. 13, and it would be a shame to miss.
Andrew Palermo was invited by Juliet Gray, the theater’s artistic performing arts director, to direct and choreograph the Key West production. “I’m learning the play is personal, but at the same time, I have a lot of reverence for it,” said Palermo, who was motivated after seeing his lifelong friend, business partner and actor, Taye Diggs’ Broadway version of the play in 2015. “Taye told me, you can’t #*$@ it up because it’s just so well written.”
The play’s original music and lyrics are by Stephen Trask based on the book by John Cameron Mitchell which hit off-Broadway in 1998. Since then it has revived itself as a movie starring Mitchell, winning multiple awards, and on Broadway in 2014-15 to Tony acclaim.
The story is about poor Hedwig, a German rock singer man-woman who suffered a botched sex change and cruelly has no good relationships except with his audience. It is ripe with innuendo, humor and soul-searching, drawing audiences into Hedwig’s hell and heart. With a Bowie-esque flare, the production isn’t dated but alive, like a modern cabaret.
“What I love to do as an artist is mix form. The production has concert dance, modern music, rock, punk, ballads, and even a fun country number,” said Palermo.
Playing Hedwig is Phillip Cole White, who recently starred in “129 Miles from Walmart,” “Oklahoma Smith and the Pantheon of Annihilation” and as an outstanding Billy Bibbit from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at TheatreXP. “Phillip is so incredible; he is game for anything and was born to play this role,” said Palermo.
“It’s such a wonderful, fun piece with so much heart and rock n roll,” said Juliet Gray, who chose the production. “With the theater’s sound system, you live in the music.”
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
The Key West Theater
Dec. 26-Jan. 13
Tickets $30 – $35