Cardinal Stage will present “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” June 9-26 at the John Waldron Auditorium. The show will star James Rose as Hedwig and Paige Scott as Yitzhak. Dan Kazemi will be the music director and John Jarboe will direct.
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” is a rock musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Trask and a book by John Cameron Mitchell. The story follows Hedwig, an internationally ignored rock singer who had a botched gender affirmation surgery. Through her rock show, Hedwig shares her search for stardom, recognition and love.
After its off-Broadway premiere in 1998, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” gained popularity as a cult classic. Rose said the musical holds a special place in queer cinema as a gender- nonconforming classic of its time. They also said it tells a timeless love story in a unique medium, as it is a rock musical.
On a personal level, Rose said people are drawn to the musical because they can see themselves in Hedwig.
“People walk in thinking they're nothing like Hedwig,” Rose said. “They want to distance themselves from her and from this thing they don't understand, this version of gender nonconformity. This drag performer, there's so many angles to look at her from, and I think it's impossible to finish the show and not see yourself as her by the end of it.”
For “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” Rose said Cardinal Stage made sure that the right people are in the right jobs and that stories are being told responsibly.
“This is a rock show that essentially gives the middle finger to so much of normativity culture,” Rose said. “What Cardinal did so brilliantly was put a bunch of queer people at the helm of that to make sure that it was authentic and to make sure that the people involved had a save space to be who we truly are.”
Kate Galvin, Cardinal Stage artistic director, also runs an artistic advisor committee, Rose said. The committee is a diversity, equity and inclusion committee that has a broader role in making sure the culture at Cardinal is welcoming, safe and inclusive.
“You'll see that in the show that there was so much love for everybody in the room from everybody,” Rose said. “Everyone was doing this because they genuinely think that queer art is special and deserves to be seen, and that queer people deserve to see themselves represented on stage.”
This is the first time “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” will premiere in Bloomington, according to Cardinal Stage’s press release. Rose said they know Bloomington has a strong queer population, so they hope people come out to experience the show.
“I get really bored of the queer art that's like ‘gay people are great,’ because we are, but we already know that. Who is that for? That's for straight people. That's for cis people,” Rose said. “We are taking this queer narrative and we're making it complicated and rich and complex and you may not know how you feel about this character by the end of the show, which is important, because that's human.”
Showtimes vary from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., depending on the date. For more information, visit Cardinal Stage’s website.
Tickets for the show are on sale on Cardinal Stage’s website with their “pay what you will” rate, allowing audience members to choose their own prices from a range of ticket price options: 0, $5, $10, $15, $20, $25, $30, $35, $40, $45, $55, $65, $75. There is a $2 per ticket convenience fee on all orders.
All attendees are required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test. Masks will be required at all performances.