Scott and I saw this musical on Broadway on 6/27. I had seen it with Richard and our friend Hanna a year ago, with Neil Patrick Harris. I had also seen the original off Broadway production with Karen Miller in the 90s and love the movie, and seeing the show again cements my view that this is one of the very greatest Broadway musicals. I’m putting it up there with *Gypsy*, *My Fair Lady*, *Sweeney Todd*, *Follies*.
I was a little wary of seeing it again, I was afraid it would dim the memory of seeing Harris as the East German transgender “internationally ignored song stylist”, but there was no worry of that. The show itself is so strong, and Harris’s performance was unique and indelible. The current star is Darren Criss, best known for his role on *Glee*. I didn’t know him at all, I’ve never been a Gleek - - he was wonderful as Hedwig. Not as world-weary as Harris, but then he’s 28 and Harris is 42! Criss is a dazzling singer and dancer and was having a great time playing this outsize heroine.
There were a few new bits in the script from when I saw it the last time. A hilarious Auschwitz joke: Hedwig says, “I have family that died at Auschwitz. An uncle who fell out of a watch tower. We are all victims!”
And a great dig on John Cameron Mitchell, who created the show in the late 90s, played the role of Hedwig in the first production, directed and starred in the movie, and finally played the role on Broadway this winter. Criss as Hedwig was musing about the theater:
“Ah, the history of this noble old theater. The Belasco. Brando had his Broadway debut here. Bogart walked on these boards. *A Raisin in the Sun* had its premiere here. The history is hanging in the air and soaked into the floor - - you can smell it, you can taste it.” She licks the floor. “Ugh, that tasted like John Cameron Mitchell. It’s an old taste. It stays with you, just as you think it’s gone away it comes back.”