Category Archive for: ‘Richard Connema’
Trust Nick Olivero and his crew at the Boxcar Theatre to give us an inventive production of John Cameron Mitchell’s “Hedwig and the Magic Itch” with a score by Stephen Trask. I generally have seen this energy driven musical with only one Hedwig starting with John Cameron Mitchell playing the transsexual rock diva role at the Jane Theatre in New York in 1998. Since that time I have seen several Los Angeles productions including a production with Michael Cerveris.
This is the story of a boy named Hansel who might have left something behind in East Germany before coming to the United States as a bride named Hedwig. We first meet Hedwig working with her band in a local restaurant near the salad bar as she exclaims that she was the internationally ignored rock singer who had traveled from Communist Berlin. Hedwig shares stories of how he was a young boy never Hansel, raised by a single mother in Germany then several years later he was attracted to an American GI sergeant. The G.I. would marry Hansel and would take him to America if he followed through with a sex change operation in order to become a complete woman. When the operation fails leaving Hedwig with an angry itch, his GI husband abandons him in Kansas and Hedwig it left to fend for himself by doing a series of side gigs. Hedwig meets a young Tommy Gnosis and the two bonds until Tommy steals Hedwig’s song and becomes a huge rock star.
Nick Olivero has cast 8 Hedwig’s that include Arturo Galster, John R. Lewis, James Mayagotia, Flynn Witmeyer, Nicole Julien, Trixxie Carr, Michael Jasso and CC. Sheldon. Nicole Julien and Hames Mayagoitia are terrific with astounding vocal ranges. Arturo Galster, John R. Lewis, Flynn Witmeyer, Trixxie Carr, Michael Jasso and CC, Nelson. All have strong vocal cords and each Hedwig has their own distinctive characterization. Ross Nuenfeldt as the awkward Tommy has great rangy voice in his numbers while Hugo Carbajal as Luther gives a good performance. Rounding out the cast are Eleanor Mason-Reinholdt as Mother and Parker Sela as Young Handel. Both give first rate performances. The band consisting of Neil Bowlus on bass, Jake Padilla on Guitar and John Hollis on drums are rocking great
Nick Olivero has transformed the intimate theatre into a cabaret with the Hedwig’s cast sometimes dancing on the tables. Sometimes one of the Hedwig’s even sits on your lap which of course made this reviewer happy. Nick Olivero before the show starts comes around with a bottle of bourbon to the patrons sitting at tables. He states that anyone who can twitter on their phones and I- pads that they are enjoying “Hedwig” will receive a shot of the hard stuff. Many persons did and Nick obliged by pouring directly into their throats the liquid.
Bottom line for “Hedwig” is that it has great characters, great energy driven voices, memorable music about self-acceptance and identity and relatable to a lot of people. Some have returned several times to see this remarkable rock show.
“Hedwig and the Angry Itch” is currently playing through March 3rd and the Boxcar Theatre, 505 Natoma Street, San Francisco. Tickets can be obtain by going to www.boxcartheatre.org