Updated: Jan 21
Steffan Scrogan as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Courtesy Photo)
One wonderful Inch
By Paul Atreides
The Off-Broadway-to-Broadway sensation, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a book by John Cameron Mitchell, music and lyrics by Stephen Trask, has come to Las Vegas under the direction of Troy Heard at Majestic Repertory Theatre.
Filled with local gags and pop culture, the rock musical takes the audience on a journey through the life of Hansel as he becomes Hedwig, how it all came about, and how the Angry Inch is now on a national tour through the United States.
Of course, Hedwig is not a superstar and finds venues such as the one Majestic has placed in The Buffalo Exchange Outlet, a vintage clothing store that has been around for ages. The inside of the theatre is packed with all the things you’d find if you paid a visit to the real thing. That’s one of Heard’s strong points in producing; the minute details of the sets are always amazing to discover.
Steffan Scrogan is amazing in the title role of the genderqueer wannabe rock star and delivers a near non-stop monologue, breaking into songs that move the story arc along. An incredible voice breaks free in the ballad “Wicked Little Town,” and Scrogan, drag artist Anya Knees, brings every bit of pathos the song requires.
I got the feeling the cast wasn’t ready for such an enthusiastic and raucous crowd. In dialogue, Scrogan often didn’t wait for the audience’s laughter, whistling, applause, and hooting and hollering to subside. As a result, even some tagline gags were lost.
Always forced into the background of the story by Hedwig, and always singing backup, is the character of Yitzhak (Zelda Fairfax). But when Hedwig finally finds peace of mind and pushes Yitzhak to the front, she soars above and beyond.
The band is filled with some talented folks as well. They not only play all the numbers but they must all interact with Hedwig as the play progresses.
The biggest issue facing the production is the sound. That’s a fairly typical problem, whether you’re in a small space like Majestic or at T-Mobile for a concert – the band will often drown out the vocals. Rock music, particularly of the genre used in this play, is inherently loud with lyrics often swallowed up. But when those words of the songs are meant to carry the story forward, and you can’t hear them, you lose the magic.
Overall, you can anticipate that the bugs will be worked out and the cast will settle in. It may be angry, but it’s a truly beautiful and wonderful Inch.
What: Hedwig and the Angry Inch
When: Thursday to Saturday 8 p.m.; Sundays 9:30 p.m.; through February 26
Tickets: $45 to $60 (www.majesticrepertory.com)
Grade: **** (Delicious)
Producer: Majestic Repertory Theatre; Director: Troy Heard; Lighting: David Schulman