Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s nationwide tour kicked off on Oct. 2 in San Francisco, a year after the Broadway production came to an end. This year, the Tony Award-winning musical will be playing every night at The Pantages from Nov. 1 to Nov. 27.
Hedwig and the Angry Itch first began as a novel by John Cameron Mitchell, with the lyrics and music by Stephen Trask. The song plays off of the premise of the play in which Hedwig, the main character, must receive a sex change in order stay with her current lover. The sex change is botched and leaves Hedwig with an “one inch mound.”
The novel was originally inspired by Mitchell’s babysitter named Helga, who was also a prostitute. Although his babysitter was biologically a woman, Hedwig is a not known as a transgender character but as a genderqueer character who uses feminine pronouns.
“She’s more than a woman or a man,” playwright and lead actor John Cameron Mitchell said in an interview with the Toronto Star. “She’s a gender of one and that is accidentally so beautiful.”
The play is a full-length musical that collaborates variations of rock and punk music. It first opened off-Broadway in 1998.
Many Broadway hits such as Hamilton and Rent originally started on Off-Broadway before becoming critically acclaimed plays. Hedwig and the Angry Inch was no exception. It ran for two years off-Broadway and included multiple casts and toured around the United States.
The musical went on to win the Obie Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for best Off-Broadway Musical. This led to multiple adaptations worldwide after including locations such as London and Berlin.
Mitchell then later transitioned the play into a full-length feature adaptation with Mitchell reprising his role as Hedwig. The film was acclaimed and won the Best Director Award as well as the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
After multiple international stints, Hedwig and the Angry Inch had its first Broadway debut in 2014 with How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris playing the role of Hedwig along with Tony Award-winning actress Lena Hall.
The Broadway production ended in 2015 and is now starting its national tour with Darren Criss, known for his role on Glee, in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Hall will reprise her role for a few days at the Los Angeles show. The play will be directed by Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer and will run throughout the United States until the end of summer 2017. Criss and Hall, however, will both leave the production after the Los Angeles leg is finished.