Hedwig And The Angry Inch is back in L.A. in a bravura star turn by Chuck 

For those who’ve not caught the show before (or the movie which starred its 
writer John Cameron Mitchell), Hedwig And the Angry Inch is the tale of an 
East German “slip of a girly boy” who as a young adult undergoes a botched 
sex change operation and ends up not with a man’s thingy or a woman’s, but 
rather with an “angry inch” somewhere between male and female and a rock 
persona he/she calls Hedwig.

The current production at the MET Theatre, directed by Ben Kusler, is essentially 
an 85 minute rock concert, featuring 10 songs (music by Stephen Trask), during 
which Hedwig recounts his/her bumpy road to “internationally ignored” 
obscurity. Backing Hedwig up is the equally gender-bending Yitzak (Renee 
Cohen) and a four piece rock band led by Christian Nesmith on guitar.

Note: This would seem to be quite a different approach from the much lauded 
2004 revisal at the Celebration Theatre, which I didn’t see, but which featured 
a third performer in the role of Hedwig’s lover turned nemesis Tommy Gnosis, as 
well as a three member vocal backup who portrayed various characters in 
Hedwig’s tale.

The MET production focuses its attention firmly on Hedwig, with the sensational 
DiMaria giving an electric performance sure to win many accolades.

As the band emerges one by one from a manhole at the top of the upstage 
steps (the set seems essentially the same as was used in the recent production 
of Hair), we hear an announcer gravely intone, “Ladies and gentlemen, 
whether you like it or now, HEDWIG!” and onto the stage strides a tall slender 
figure wrapped in the Stars and Stripes, wearing an enormous long platinum 
blond wig, standing statuesque and proud in red leather platform boots.

Hedwig, the offspring of an American G.I. father and an East German mother, 
then goes on to tell the audience of an underprivileged childhood under 
Communism. (“The apartment I shared with my mother was so small that I 
had to play in the oven.”) Later, we learn of the betrayal of Hedwig’s former 
lover Tommy Gnosis, and at various intervals, Hedwig opens a door leading out 
towards Dodgers’ Stadium where Tommy is giving a sold out concert, never 
once acknowledging Hedwig’s part in his success.

Between songs, Hedwig makes many current references including, among 
others, jokes about Britney Spears, NoHo (“That’s what they call it so people 
won’t think they live in the Valley”), the last episode of the Sopranos.

Trask and Mitchell’s songs run the gamut of musical styles, and DiMaria gives 
his all to each of them, with powerful results. There’s the Elton John-like “Tear 
Me Down,” the folk rock ballad “Origin of Love,” the country flavored “Sugar 
Daddy,” the hard rock “Angry Inch,” the ballad-to-bubblegum “Wig in a Box” 
with its sing-along chorus, the 60s style ballad “Wicked Little Town,” which 
DiMaria performs twice, once as Hedwig and again later as Tommy, the torchy 
“Hedwig’s Lament,” the head-banging metallic “Exquisite Corpse,” and the 
rock waltz “Midnight Radio.” “The Long Grift” allows Cohen to show of her 
great rock voice, and she also sings a wow of a cover of “I Will Always Love 

Besides Nesmith, the band members include John Classick on bass, Jeffrey 
Shapiro on drums, and Mark Nilan on keyboards. They are phenomenal 
musicians one and all, though anyone unaccustomed to the deafening 
volume of a heavy metal concert is advised to bring cotton or other hearing 

Hedwig And The Angry Inch is a logical follow-up to the MET’s recent, and 
highly successful production of Hair.  (Both shows were produced by Paul Koslo.) 
Angry war protestors have been replaced by Hedwig’s angry inch, and a cast 
of dozens is now scaled down to two, but the energy remains high. Though 
more traditional playgoers are likely to take a pass on this rock concert as 
musical, Hedwig And The Angry Inch is sure to attract and entertain young hip 
rockers who might normally pass on an evening of theater, and that’s 
something not to be angry about.

The MET Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Av., Hollywood.

–Steven Stanley
January 20, 2008

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