As all you many, many frequent readers of Bosh With Elaine and Josh know, Josh and I have been hard at working putting on our very own production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. And since it has now come and passed, I think it mertis one long-ass post to wrap it up.
The first time I heard of Hedwig was in ninth grade when I was still coming down from my Rocky Horror high. So many people compare the two, that I added Hedwig to a long list of movies that I’d see eventually. The opportunity arose as I was sick and found the movie in the Comedy section of Blockbuster. I watched it when I went home, and I didn’t like it. Maybe it was the cold medicine or something, but it just didn’t mean anything to me. For whatever reason, I watched it again and fell in love. Suddenly everything clicked. I recognized myself in little Hansel – trapped in an oven of endless possibilties but limited means, and wanted to cry during “Origin of Love” because it so clearly expained the purpose for living. By the time it got to “Midnight Radio” when Hedwig was singing to the misfits, losers and rock and rollers, I knew that this was forever going to be my favorite movie.
I introduced it to Josh the night before he left to spend six weeks in Taiwan, and I ‘m not really sure how he felt about it. But as he left and I had the summer to myself, the research began. As I learned about John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask I became appreciative of Hedwig on another level because they had done exactly what it is truly my dream to do: musical to movie to cult phenomenom.
I can’t remember if producing the musical was my idea, or Josh’s, or a combination, but I know we agreed upon it the summer before sophomore year sitting in the little park by my house. Then some drunk twenty-somethings ran through the park and scared the shit out of us.
But I digress.
Through 10th and 11th grade we periodically spoke of it, but didn’t really focus on it. Then at the beginning of senior year we got serious. In September we got the rights and arranged to use the San Diego LGBT Center for three evenings in March . Then we set up auditions with people we met on Craigslist and through community college bulletin boards. We met some weird people and thankfully didn’t get murdered (which I hear is a possiblity when you invite people you meet on the Internet to your house or go to theirs), and unfortunatley…it just didn’t work out. We cancelled at the Center and had a serious talk at SMG about the prospects of Hedwig over California burritos.
It was looking grim and we were discouraged. It was already February and it was clear that we could never pull everything together by May. Josh suggested giving up (several times), but I knew that this was too important not to complete. Perhaps it had something to do with the passing of Prop 8, but I think it was mainly for the selfish reasons of wanting to finish something that I’d been dreaming about for going on three years. (Also I’d written about it in my college applications…)
So then we decided so scale way down and make it Josh, me, and a karaoke track for a very ghetto production sometime in May and the beautiful Scripps Ranch library.
Thankfully, Forrest and Rebecca agreed to help us out. Now there was a cast of three with Josh as Hedwig (this took some coaxing, but he eventually warmed to the idea), Forrest as the entire band (but specifically Skszp, the musical director), and Rebecca as Yitzhak. But as things got busy at school (and as we procrastinated) we arrived at the week before our scheduled performance fully unprepared.
We had costumes and the very limited required set pieces (including the ninety-three illustraions I drew which were to be projected during the entire show), but as for the acting and music…there was none of that.
So we worked hard for the next week to get our show ready for Monday May 4th.
And it sort of bombed. The projector was missing the correct cable, Hedwig’s wig fell off, an entire portion was forgotten, daylight poured through the glass doors, the lighting was nonexistent…
But everyone still clapped and was very nice to us about it. Luckily, Rebecca’s brother is besties with a lady in Scripps Ranch who owns a Performing Arts studio and she let us use it for our second show. We kept rehearsing and found Huy and Kevin to round out the necessary drum and piano sections of the music. And on May 16th, with an audience of about twenty, we put on a really good production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
The projections added another dimension to the story, the music sounded really good, we had a real lighting board, Josh did such a good job, everyone looked great…it just went so well.
I know that this whole thing was supposed to be for our Senior Exhibitions, but I feel like this was really our first great life accomplishtment. I don’t mean to gush, but really I couldn’t be more proud of what we were able to do. Or more thankful to all the people who helped us. We’ve said it a thousand times, but they deserve repeating: Forrest, Rebecca, Thomas, Kevin, Huy, Angela, my Mom and Carl…it would have been impossible without you.
But there was one person that I forgot to thank when we took the microphone after the show and that would be Josh. I’m really glad that he didn’t give up, even though it would have been easier, and that he played Hedwig (which he really did so well). So thanks, Josh. Cause I couldn’t have done it on my own.
We’ll have pictures and video coming soon, but in the meantime enjoy this clip of “Sugar Daddy”:
And if you missed the show or you want to see it again…well, you never know when Hedwig will stop by Scripps Ranch again.