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Theater Review: Hedwig and the Angry Inch


ST. PETERSBURG — Tony Award-winning rock opera Hedwig and the Angry Inch came in with a roar at American Stage in downtown St. Pete. The musical runs through June 9 at American Stage before heading to Jannus Live for an outdoor run June 13-16.

With lyrics by Stephen Trask and a book by John Cameron Mitchell, the story follows Hedwig Robinson, a post-op transexual East German rock singer, as she navigates the androgynous '70s glam rock scene in West Berlin.

The play is staged so that the audience learns Hedwig's story via performances and bits of conversation as she follows her ex-lover's much more successful tour while he tries to rebuild his career after a scandal involving Hegwig.

Hegwig is accompanied by her husband and bandmate Yitzhak, a drag queen from Zagreb, whom she berates and verbally abuses at every turn. Throughout the performance, the audience learns Hedwig's tragic life story and comes to empathize deeply with an otherwise unsympathetic character.

Matthew McGloin gives a spectacular performance in the lead role, infusing Hedwig with a punk je ne sais quoi that falls somewhere between Ziggy Stardust and early Iggy Pop. McGloin also has the vocal chops to more than do justice to Trask’s epic score.

K. Chinthana Sotakoun is just as impressive in the role of Yitzhak, the talented spouse who, as a condition of Hedwig's agreeing to marry him, can no longer perform in drag. This results in a palpable apathy that eventually comes to a head.

This is a first-rate production of a timeless work that is perhaps even more relevant today. Whether you prefer the intimacy of the Raymond James Theatre at American Stage or the awesome spectacle that the Jannus Live shows will surely create, it is an event not to be missed. Visit the American Stage website for ticket and schedule information.


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