Hedwig and the Playbill Within a Playbill

I don't know if I'll be able to see the updated version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch playing on Broadway. It's a matter of scheduling and availability. Who knows if they will even cast a replacement for Neil Patrick Harris when his contract ends or if they'll just shutter the show? What I do know is that I'm blown away all over again by the imagination of the creative team. It's been over a decade since Hedwig made her stage debut off-Broadway and that has a huge impact on the timeline of the story. In 1998, it worked out just right for Hedwig to have gone through the botched sex change (hence the angry inch of the title) mere days before the Berlin Wall fell. Arriving on Broadway 16 years later could force the timeline to be tweaked.

I don't know what, if any, substantial changes have been made to deal with it being 2014. I do know that John Cameron Mitchell came up with a brilliant explanation for Hedwig being on Broadway instead of in a night club/restaurant as the original play said. Hedwig is squatting on the set of the flop Broadway musical The Hurt Locker. It's a stripped down set meant to represent Iraq and bomb control devices, not a night club across the street from the big arena where Tommy Gnosis is playing the same night. Sure, Hedwig still screams out the stage door. His own accommodations, however, are much nicer than they used to be.

The Hurt Locker could have been a one and done throwaway bit in the vein of Spamalot. Now, it is almost identical.

On opening night for Spamalot's Broadway debut, the patrons were given playbills for a musical called Finland. The opening song in the musical is ripped right from the film, where the narrator's accent is so thick that the actors onscreen start performing a story about Finland instead of England. The matter is remedied after a brief performance of a fish slapping folk song and the show proceeds into the actual story of King Arthur and the search for the Holy Grail.

On opening night of Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, the patrons received two playbills. The first was for the actual production; the second was for the fictional The Hurt Locker musical. It had its own cast, synopsis, headshots, creative team, bios, and even notes from the director. Playbill already has the playbill within the playbill archived and it's a hoot.

The Hurt Locker Musical Cover

The Hurt Locker Musical Bios

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