Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Before the Berlin Wall came down, getting out of East Germany was no mean feat. However, for a resourceful girly-boy named Hedwig, a sex change operation and a marriage license was just the ticket. Of course, in that day and age in East Berlin, the risks involved in such a plan were only slightly better than scaling the wall and taking your chances with the barbed wire and gunfire.

And although the operation was less than a complete success, Hedwig did survive and make it to the West, where his/her experience has become the fodder for a successful film and cabaret act entitled, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The LIDA Project's regional premiere of this off-Broadway hit musical, directed by Chris Tabb, is a cross-between performance art, night club routine, theatre, and rock concert.

Brian Upton, as the inimitable Helwig, struts, rants, and cajoles his way into our hearts, with a mix of compelling storytelling, plaintive ballads, and raucous humor. Sara Casperson, in the underdeveloped role of Helwig's former drag queen road manager and thankless foil, provides solid backup vocals, and Colin Bricker, Kit Peltzel, Marty Pullam, and John Rasmussen rock as The Angry Inch backup band.

While one would never know it from the mass media, beneath the veneer of perfectly heterosexual models, armored SUV's, fried fast foods, fluttering American flags, and pseudo-Christian rhetoric, there lies a whole spectrum of human sexuality, righteous anger, and unconditional love. Helwig has his/her finger on this pulse.

Helwig and the Angry Inch plays Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at the Wave Night Club, 2101 Champa St., through November 16th. Beginning on Friday, November 22nd, the production moves to the Climax Lounge, 2217 Welton St., where it continues in an open-ended run. 303-282-0466 for tickets.

Bob Bows


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