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Fan Reviews, Media Reviews, and comments from members of the Media, about Darren in Hedwig and the Angry Inch--SF and L.A. Tour

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Poppy

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A few comments on HedwigOnBway's Facebook page, from folks who saw him in the SF leg of the Hedwig tour (sometimes with a few comments from folks who saw him in Hedwig on Broadway).

HedwigOnBway Facebook, October 28 wrote:
Sara Miller Hobbs   My husband and I are Hed-heads from Oregon, and we flew to SF to see you last week -- fantastic!! I flew to NYC to see JCM, only to have our show canceled due to his hurt knee... Have waited for a live show for 19 years -- you were brilliant, Darren Criss


Nash Johns   Saw him in July when he was still on broadway! Wonderful! Hedwig is my absolute favorite! I'd love nothing more than to be a part of it, already have it memorized XD


Randi Kerman Shendell   I saw him on Broadway with my daughter. He was excellent as Hedwig. We waited for him at the stage door. He was so gracious and a gentleman. He personally sighed the poster we purchased.


Jennifer J. Mundy   Saw him this afternoon in SF.  Amazing performance! Saw NPH in NYC and thought he was awesome as well. I love all the iterations of Hedwig and the unique infusion each actor gives to the character.

HedwigOnBway Facebook, October 28, 2016
(click on "Comments")








HedwigOnBway Facebook, October 25, 2016 wrote:
Brooks Cody Drew   Saw it again last Saturday. This show does not disappoint. Kudos to all involved!


Erin Baker   You were brilliant!!! Saw it on friday night.


Jacob Yates   We saw it last week...it was wonderful!

HedwigOnBway Facebook, October 25, 2016







HedwigOnBway Facebook, October 20, 2016 wrote:
Jennifer Lynne   I never imagined that a Beefcake Hedwig could rock my world. but ROCK it she did. hours later i am still reeling from Darren's powerfully poignant (or poignantly powerful? ) performance. Hoorah, young man.

HedwigOnBway Facebook, October 20, 2016

Poppy

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Some tweets:























Last edited by Poppy on Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:46 pm; edited 2 times in total

Poppy

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Some tweets:













Last edited by Poppy on Tue Nov 08, 2016 1:14 am; edited 2 times in total

Poppy

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                                                                 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Tour at the Hollywood Pantages in Los Angeles:   November 1 - 27, 2016. 






Darren's Schedule



November 1-27    Hedwig & the Angry Inch.  L.A.:    Tickets






So begins the Los Angeles leg of the Hedwig and the Angry Inch tour! applause

Poppy

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From DarrenCrissArmy:

Zelda Williams is Robin Williams's daughter.  She is a childhood friend of Darren.  She had seen Darren in Hedwig on Broadway.





Zelda Williams, actress and daughter of the late Robin Williams | June 11, 2015
DCN





She tweeted this today.  So sweet that she is thinking of Darren as he performs Hedwig in Los Angeles.



@zeldawilliams
via DarrenCrissArmy









# Repost @dommer32

Tonight was magical!! My husband surprised me with opening night, second row seats to Hedwig!!! Thank you so much baby, it was amazing. #HedwigAndTheAngryInch #DarrenCriss #PutOnMyMakeup #TurnUpTheEightTrack http://ift.tt/2fv0DCX









# Repost shmabriel__13

Such an amazing time seeing #darrencriss and #lenarockerhall KILL their opening performance of one of my all time favorite shows, Hedwig and the Angry Inch!! (And yes I died immediately after Darren rested his hand on my arm for our entire conversation ) http://ift.tt/2f0Hrsh








From dailydarrennews:

larawsb: @darrencriss rocked our worlds tonight (and made us laugh and cry as he took us on an unforgettable 90 minute journey as Hedwig running all November~ a must see! #hedwigandtheangryinch






melmels91  Hedwig was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen!  Truly inspirational.  Ecstatic we met him afterwards!  he was the sweetest!









ryryshangster  So Impressed!  @darrencriss left it all on the stage. 
Good luck with getting rid of all the glitter. 
Blaine has abs.





  @davisbloome84    Hedwig was the most amazing play I've seen in such a long time thank you @Pantages @LenaRockerHall @DarrenCriss







kaleidoscopecolors    Out of body experience watching @darrencriss kill it on @hedwigonbway #myfirstbroadwayshow #4throw #darrencanspitonme



Last edited by Poppy on Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:42 pm; edited 2 times in total

Poppy

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Some tweets about last night's dress rehearsal (Tuesday, November 1, 2016):




 A short conversation about the performance (from earliest to later):











Comments from some Hedwig fans:





roseapodaca     Did @DarrenCriss as #Hedwig tonight in #LA rock me like @NeilPatrickHarris did in #NY? Let's just say my LA friends, you'd be fools to miss this run!  Fools!
Get thy tix now.
The amazing music and staging aside, too, there are the wigs--the WIGS!--and #makeup by @MikePotter/ costumes by the one and only @AriannePhillips (thank you, again, my friend).
@josephbrooksjewelry, you were a handsome date.
#Opening Night #Preview #hedwigandtheangryinch #pantages #hollywood #lavieenrose #luckygal with #talented friends








More comments:

























Greg Hernandez is a member of the media (editor of  GregInHollywood.com, US correspondent for GayStarNews.com.   Former LA Times, Hollywood Reporter, LA Daily News.









Poppy

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Opening Night (Wednesday, November 2, 2016), Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Hollywood Pantages!




# Repost slim_t3


During my 1st year undergraduate at CAL I took a comparative literature class. We watched this movie and I FELL IN LOVE with the story! Seeing it today on opening night was like a dream. Darren Criss was amazing. Ugh my mind has been blown
#playwright #broadway #hedwigandtheangryinch #darrencriss #pantagestheatre #hollywood #musicals #openingnight http://ift.tt/2fdxmeB
via DarrenCrissArmy



Some tweets:





Note:  Olesya Rulin is an actor (High School Musical)











Note:  Sara Rue is an actor (films and TV shows:  Popular, Less Than perfect, and Eastwick!).

Beth Hall (Mad Men, Mom) also was present.




















This made me laugh.  He is the Managing Editor of JustJared.com  (although Chik Fil A??).






This twitter video is fantastic, giving a great view of the crowd on Opening Night at the Pantages!

Lilikoiluv

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Hi, Everyone. I finally wrote up my Hedwig experience. You guys probably know by now that I'm rambly and long winded when I have a lot of FEEELS. and this is not going to be any different, I'm afraid.  My aplogies in advance.  I just needed to finally get my thoughts out. Okay, here goes: 

Darren Criss belongs on the stage.  Darren Criss just owns the stage as soon as Hedwig enters (through the back no less!). The entire 90-minute show was truly a rollercoaster that takes the audience from her sassy, funny shield, to the depths of her wounded soul, to the battle to win herself back, and then rise to soar at her release and joy of self-acceptance.  The ride she takes you on is funny, devastating, and oh-so exhilarating to witness.

It has taken over 7 years for me to FINALLY enjoy Darren performing live, and I am blown away by the charisma he exudes on that stage, in such a demanding role no less! I knew I would be blown away, but it doesn't take anything away from the actual experience. TOTALLY. AND. COMPLETELY. BLOWN. AWAY.

From what I could see, senior-citizens made up the vast majority of the audience in the front orchestra section, and I wondered how that would inform Hedwig’s performance.  I had chatted a bit with the two younger guys sitting next to me before the show. One had seen the show before and was seeing it again because the other was not in town the last time. They were taking selfies and clearly excited about seeing the show. Hedwig made a hilarious reference to the audience make up.  When she marvels at the historic “groaning planks” of the theater and lists the famous people that have performed there, like Frank Sinatra and Carol Channing she quips, “I see many of you were there.” lol.

And I’m not sure if it is just me or perhaps the make up of the audience, but Hedwig was not as loud and outwardly angry as I had gotten in listening to the recordings or watching the bootlegs of the NYC shows.  Hedwig was still angry (and loud), but I got a sort of weariness too as she told us about her life.  It was so powerful.  Hedwig would pause and take a second or two to sort of gather herself up from time to time.  Her voice would break at pivotal moments. These were brief blink-and-you’ll-miss moments but really struck me that behind all of her bravado was a battered soul.

Darren’s performance was incredible. Everyone that has seen the show has always commented on how he “becomes” Hedwig how you don’t see Darren on the stage, and they were all correct.  I knew that but was still surprised how you don’t think about Darren throughout the show. Hedwig sucks you into her life and story and doesn’t release you until the very end. 

Tear Me Down:  What hit me first was the sheer power of Darren’s voice live. His voice has such power and an added hard, gravelly element (that I loved and don’t recall hearing in the NYC recordings), that I was blasted back in my seat a bit in amazement.   I’m not sure if this hard, gravelly element is in response to Lena’s strong, gravelly rock voice, or if recordings (or my ears) never caught it before but it, combined with the rest of the song, are just incredible.  “Angry Inch” was full rage and again the gravelly element just added to the impact.

Origin of Love:  I had seen a bit of footage of JCM with the scrim animation, but seeing it live was a thing of beauty.  Darren really puts great expression and emotion into the telling of the story.  That, and Hedwig’s instrumental interaction with the animation had me in awe and teary-eyed.  That was rather unexpected for me.

Sugar Daddy:  Was raucously risqué and fun!  It looked like the theater seats armrests were not made for Hedwig to climb on, and so she had to really maneuver herself to car wash the person on the end of the front row.  It was all glorious when it came together though.  She sat and shimmied on the lap of the older gentleman in the row in front of us. He was surprised but he and his wife laughed when Hedwig moved on.  The friends/couple next to me LOVED it tremendously!

Wig in a Box:  Darren’s Hedwig rendition of this song has been one of my favorites and seeing it live was wonderful.  The weary sadness at the beginning--seeing her slumped body on the hood of the car and the sad, empty expression in her eyes--my heart just ached for her. Hedwig’s transition from the persona of each wig to the transformation “back to myself” after each wig is removed is also tugs at your heart and makes you ache for her.  The costume switch takes place in a different part of the car, and took a bit longer than usual, but when punk rock star Hedwig appeared everyone cheered and clapped.

The story of her and Tommy!  Oh my god, Hedwig just tore me apart. Everyone’s written such praises about this exquisite scene, and it’s all true.  I won’t go into details but a other few moments (besides the gut-wrenching climax, of course) that also had me aching in the depths of my heart and stomach for Hedwig were:
-The little transformation Hedwig makes between “We were very, very happy…” and  “One day, I’m curled up in my trailer with…” is amazing.  Hedwig pauses for just a brief moment there and you see her kind of steel herself for the next part of the story. Complete silence from the audience.  It was brief but braced everyone for what was about to happen.
-the fondness in her face and voice as she shares their conversations
-Hedwig’s awed, breathless realization when she slowly says, “I’m filled with and ancient…” and “He’s the one” took my breath away too.
-Tommy’s groans as he says how paradise was lost and how it will be regained.
-The oh-so-effective pause after Tommy says, “What is that?” and Hedwig again takes just a flash of a moment to gather herself. The longer vulnerable pause when she says, “That…is what I have to work with”.  KILLED. ME.
-Hedwig’s quiet and anguished, “What are you afraid of?” And the way her voice breaks when she says, “Then he runs out the back door.” And how she tries to gather herself up again and fails continued to KILL. ME. MORE.
-Hedwig’s totally broken and breathless, “Look what you’ve done…” as she unsuccessfully tries to sing “The Long Grift.” She was devastated and I was DEAD. SO DEAD.

Hedwig’s Lament:  That moment Yitzhak spits in Hedwig’s face and just afterwards, people gasped and then silence. Hedwig’s broken voice as she tries to contain her anger and anguish just devastated me (and the rest of the audience). Then she finally explodes with "Exquisite Corpse" and everything unravels.
    
Wicked Little Town (Reprise): Whoa. Whoa. WHOA.
As others have mentioned the transition from Tommy back to Hedwig is longer now to perhaps give some time as these SF audiences clap after WLT.  No matter what the reason, Darren effectively makes full use of that transition time. He is not just waiting for the applause to die down; it is like he now has a whole longer process to Hedwig’s transformation, and it lasts even longer after the applause dies down to the absolute silence afterward. It is a marvel to now relish that transformation.
 
Midnight Radio:  It was an incredible uplifting, soul-renewing, emotional powerhouse that literally took my breath away. I have no words to add to every praise written about this scene except to say that every bit of praise is ACCURATE!

After that powerhouse of a performance, I was literally left a bit breathless. Everyone is on their feet with their hands raised when the curtain call begins.  It STILL amazes me that when the doors open again, THERE finally, is a smiling and sweet DARREN CRISS!  How he is able to so quickly leave Hedwig is amazing. The joy and satisfaction on his face made my heart soar for him…and us!  My hands and throat were sore afterwards from all the clapping and cheering!

The staging has Hedwig losing her heavy make-up, wigs, and layers of clothing little by little (through sweat and emotions) as she bares her story and soul throughout the show.  At the end everything is literally and emotionally left lying bare there on the stage. Wow. I needed a moment after the show to sit and gather myself up again before I could move. I had a conversation with Poppy during the NYC run about how I was surprised by how emtional HatAI is.  I have to say, seeing it live with an audience just elevates that experience exponentaially! AMAZING.

I will say it again.  Darren Criss belongs on the stage. He is just astounding to behold and you just feel that this is where his heart lies and how much he relishes challenge/privilege of the entire process.  I am so proud and happy for his triumphant success. And I am so thankful to have been able to witness his triumphant portrayal of Hedwig live. Bravo to Darren and everyone involved in this magnificent and important show!


ONE LAST THING:  My one regret is that I didn’t buy tickets to more than one show.  The show is a lot to take in. My focus was, naturally, totally on Hedwig throughout the performance. She was spectacular to watch.  But I would have loved a second or third (or fourth, or fifth…) viewing to take in and enjoy the many other aspects and nuances of the show (Lena’s brilliant Yitzhak and Yitzhak’s connection with Hedwig, the Tits of Clay…I didn’t even realize that the lights flashed the letters to H-E-D-W-I-G during the curtain call until I saw someone’s recent video of the curtain call!) I should have known better, but ah well.

Again, if you've read this far, my apologies for the long-winded post. I just needed to get my thoughts out.  I know I've missed so much more, this will do.

I'll be back to catch up on and respond to all the wonderful happenings from Hedwig's LA preview and opening nights!



Last edited by Lilikoiluv on Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:02 pm; edited 3 times in total


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Poppy

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Wow, wonderful review, Lilikoiluv!   I am so glad to hear that Darren's Hedwig moved you.  broken heart :cry   I was hoping that he would have that effect on you. 

Your review has so much glorious attention to detail!   I am off to see Darren in Hedwig tonight.  I am sure when I return, I will be agreement with much--maybe all--of your review (and I doubt if I could write it any more articulately than you, Lilikoiluv!).   Thank you sooooo much for sharing with us your thoughts and emotions, Lilikoiluv!   It's always a highlight to me to read your eloquent words! :love

Poppy

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A couple of reviews!

From dailydarrennews:

The Hollywood Reporter wrote:
'Hedwig and the Angry Inch': Theater Review

11/3/2016 by Deborah Wilker

Then again if you happen to be sitting in the first several rows, also consider yourself warned. Glee's Darren Criss, who portrayed Hedwig on Broadway in 2015 (one of a handful of star replacements for Tony-winner Neil Patrick Harris), steps back in for the first two cities of the tour, and he will absolutely have some fun with you.

The saucy asides and local jokes come fast. "If I wanted to see a mess in an L.A. theater I could just see . . . L.A. Theater." There are shout-outs to Glee co-star Lea Michele, as well as its creator Ryan Murphy: "I'm the only scream queen on this stage!" And there's a broad swipe at Donald Trump, whose ugly boasts about Tic Tacs and sexual assault are taken apart in a well-written bit.

These shenanigans of course cannot mask the pain Hedwig endures as an "internationally ignored song stylist" whose mother was cold as ice and whose former boyfriend, Tommy, has stolen the hit songs they wrote together and gone on to rock superstardom.

Criss conveys the weary fatigue, anger and optimism all at odds in Hedwig's soul, appearing very much at home in one of the theater's most physically demanding roles — as well as with the potent rock score that dips into grunge, metal, hair bands and more. A forceful straight-ahead rock singer, particularly on the opener "Tear Me Down," he's even better on the bar-stool ballad "Wicked Little Town," which is reprised later in the show as a Green Day-style anthem. The plaintive "Wig In A Box," which builds dramatically, and "The Origin of Love" are also standouts.

Hedwig, the self-described "slip of a girly boy," is not exactly a waif in Criss' hands. His chiseled, muscular physique throws off an almost Olympian vibe, but Hedwig's bedazzled denim mini skirt (and in fact all the fashions by costume designer Arianne Phillips) is so great it's easy to suspend reality.










BroadwayWorld wrote:
BWW Review: HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH: The Reason why Theatre Isn't Dead in the 21st Century

November 3, 2016

Last, but not least, Darren Criss and Lena Hall's performances were simply outstanding, as to be expected. The sheer stamina Criss must possess in order to completely rock out song-after-song and still keep his wit and delightful sass about him is impressive. Lena Hall's strong belting voice is always a treat to hear live.


Poppy

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Opening Night (Wednesday, November 2, 2016), Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Hollywood Pantages!


From DarrenCrissArmy:





Darren and Camryn Manheim on opening night of Hedwig in Los Angeles
(Source: twitter.com)
DarrenCrissArmy






I know that dailydarrennews posted some screenshots of tweets. 






Some tweets:



Note:  Andrew Carlberg is a producer. 






 



Note:  Max Landis is a writer and producer.  Chloe Dykstra is an actor and model.


















From dailydarrennews:


joe_pinzon: @darrencriss not only worked the house down boots as Hedwig, he was also super gracious, as he came over to @littleterisunshine and I to chat. He’s definitely Filipino. Go see Hedwig! #hedwigandtheangryinch #hedwig #darrencriss #pinoy #filipino #wereprobablycousins

Lilikoiluv

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All of these glowing reviews just make me so giddy! I'm overjoyed and thrilled for Darren and the rest of the Hedwig cast and crew! Bravo! What a spectacular start to what will surely be a very exciting and successful run!

I'll come by an respond and hopefull add a bit more to the wonderful opening events, people, and reviews but I just have time to drop in and express my excitement and happiness that you're seeing Hedwig tonight, Poppy! :so happy I hope know that you're going to be blown away, yet again, by the show and can't wait the chat with you about your overall impressions and what changes/growth you noticed!  You'll also have a list of celebrities that were there tonight too!  The banners along the street...the gorgeous Pantages theater... Ah, Hollywood. :big grin   Have a fabulous time, Poppy!  celebration dance!


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I saw Darren in Hedwig tonight (Thursday).  I think I need to gather my thoughts, before I write my review about Hedwig.   I just want to say that I re-read Lilikoiluv's review, and I am so impressed with your review, with the range of issues you bring up.  I may as well just say "ditto" for my review.   :amused I cannot possibly say it any more eloquently.  Not possible.  At all. 

I can share a few things that are easy for me to talk about.   I chatted with this nice lady sitting in front of me. She is a big Hedwig fan, having seen NPH, Andrew Rannells, John, and Darren (twice!) on Broadway.  I could tell she was in awe of John.  She said Neil felt the most ferocious, which impressed her.  She said before she saw Darren she had her doubts, because he seemed too young for the part.  But after she saw him, she felt he was terrific (she saw him twice on Broadwy).   She said he captured Hedwig's pain.  So I, being the nosy person that I am, asked beside John, who stood out for her.  I asked her if it was Neil, since she did seem very taken with his peformance.  She hesitated and like the nice person she is, she said every single Hedwig she saw brought something different and interesting to the show.  She was thinking, and then said while she was impressed with how ferocious Neil's Hedwig is, she was impressed with how she felt Darren really understood the character and what Hedwig was feeling.  And then she took a breath and sighed (literally), and exclaimed with admiration, how Darren's transformation back and forth between Tommy and Hedwig was seamless and effortless in the scene where Hedwig and Tommy are having the conversation near the last 1/3 of the show.   I can tell by her tone of her voice, how moved she was that Darren portrayed the pivotal scene in such an amazing, emotional way.   It was really great talking to someone who was such a big Hedwig fan. 

After the show, while we were waiting to get our car, I heard a man talking to his two friends.  He said he was impressed with Lena's voice, and then he exclaimed "Darren was terrific!" (yes, he said it with emphasis!).   His friends agreed.  The man then said he didn't know who Darren was before.  One of his friends said Darren was on Glee.  The man said he never watched Glee, and then he repeated with admiration in his voice, that he thought Darren was just terrific!     My husband and I smiled when we heard his words.

So the audience was interesting.  Tonight was an evening show.  The last time I saw Darren in Hedwig was on Broadway, during a matinee.  And I have read that the energy of a matinee is much less than that of the evening shows, and I would agree with that, but only in some ways.  This crowd was louder than the Broadway matinee I saw, in terms of applause and hooting with appreciation.  But I had a feeling that this audience, even though more middle-aged, compared to the more elderly folks at the Broadway matinee I saw, knew less about the show they were seeing than the Broadway audience I was with.  Only one person shouted out when Hedwig asked about her hair.  ( I shouted something out to help out since there was only one shout-out, but Hedwig made a joke about moving on, or something.  :amused My husband was laughing at me.)

I couldn't see who was kissed, but it appears that whoever it was left.   Hedwig remarked on it during the show.  I have never heard of this happening before.  It was shocking to me, and really unfortunate.  And again, I am so impressed with how Darren just ran with it, and made a joke to the person who was sitting next to the person who left, about how glad she/he is still there.  And at curtain call, being the sweet person he is, Darren looked at the person (persons) who were sitting next to the person(s) who left and again thanked them.  It was very sweet and genuine.

And sadly, I had some not-so-desirable seat partners.  My husband and I were sitting in the aisle seats (where Yitzhak walks at the end).   There was a couple who came a good 10-15 minutes after the show started, and the poor usher was going up and down the aisle with a flashlight, shining on the row numbers in one area for what felt like a good minute.   To my  horror, they figured out it was my row that the couple was sitting in, so everyone had to stand to let the couple in, who had the middle seats.    Then later, the man who came late, stood up and needed to leave (to go the restroom?) during the time that Hedwig and Tommy are having THE conversation!  He returned to be seated again with the usheer, and had to walk through our row (hubbie and I are at the end of the row), literally a few seconds just before the part where Tommy rejects Hedwig!  I was sooooo disappointed, I felt crushed that that scene was ruined for me.   I'm still trying to move on, from my disappointment. 

I've been to a good number of shows, at the Ahmanson and Mark Taper in Los Angeles, and a few at the Pantages.   The Ahmanson has a strict policy of not allowing people who arrive after the show has started, to enter the theater, because of the distraction (I know this because my friend was not allowed to enter the theater when she arrived 10 minutes late).   This wasn't the case with the Pantages.   And I guess because most of the shows I've seen have intermissions, I have never (that I can remember) encountered the problem of people interrupting my viewing of the show, due to them needing to leave to use the restroom during the show.  People arriving late of course do not have time to use the restroom before the show starts, and he was elderly, so I am not faulting him for needing to go.  But he changed my experience for tonight. 

At curtain call, the couple to my right decided to leave, so we had to focus on moving out of the way for them, right when I was trying to focus on Darren's bright face looking so happy at curtain call, which was unfortunate as well.  

Don't get me wrong, I loved the show tonight.   But I'm still feeling the sting of disappointment, and I need to gather my thoughts more on differences I noticed in Darren's performance tonight from the Broadway show I saw, but I can say this right now.  Darren has only gotten stronger, both in singing, his song performances, and his acting.   Throughout the night, I was thinking to myself:  "Oh my god.  He is truly so wonderful at this." 

I have to give Darren so much credit for dealing with this distractions (the audience was not on its best behavior, to say the least), he is a pro and handles himself like one.  bow to you   Unlike me, who is still pouting . . . sad face I don't know

Just so I don't finish on a downer note (I'm so sorry for venting), my husband and I didn't discuss the show much on the way home.  He was tired, tough week at work,   So I held back, and didn't ask him 101 questions, like I normally would.  I simply asked him what he thought of the show, and how did he think Darren did, reminding him to be honest.  He said he wasn't sure how much he would enjoy the show, but he said he really, really (yes, he said "really" twice)) loved it!    He was moved.  He thought Darren did "very well" in his acting and his singing.  BTW, that is a high compliment from my husband, who is a tough critic.  When it comes to the younger actors, he rarely expresses that he feels an actor did "well" in terms of dramatic acting, so that he said Darren did "very well," is big (to me).    He said that Darren was very good in terms of his facial expressions and his voice in terms of expressing emotion.

My husband also high-fived Lena as Yitzhak walked through the aisle.  It seemed that during the distance Lena had to walk to our row, there were only a few hands sticking out for her (due to the audience not being familiar with the show?), so she seemed very grateful for the hands that were extended to her.  ha!  My husband said she had a very firm grip ("she almost took my hand off").

So I will write back, after I've processed more.  Sorry again for my negative venting.

EDIT:  ha!  One thing I want to mention, my husband exclaimed:  "Darren got really buff!"  :amused

Poppy

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Thank you Lilikoiluv, for your well wishes.  I didn't read your post, until I returned. You are so sweet.   And tonight, I am blown away by Darren, in some ways more than when I first saw him in Hedwig on Broadway, which is saying A LOT, considering my seat partners.  :very confused    I will share more later.  Thanks for being so sweet, Lilikoiluv

Poppy

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I am soooooo pleased to see this wonderful review from the Los Angeles Times!!!

The Los Angeles Times wrote:
Review 'Annie' with a bad attitude: 'Hedwig' rocks the Pantages

November 3, 2016
By Margaret Gray

Hedwig is one of those magical roles that somehow transcend the individual. People don't so much play the part as get possessed by it. It's conceivable that an actor (or actress) could perform Hedwig badly, but think of all who have risen magnificently to the challenge. John Cameron Mitchell, who created the character and wrote the book for the musical (Stephen Trask composed the glam-rock, Bowie-influenced score), played Hedwig off-Broadway for years, creating a cult following of Hed-heads. When the show reached Broadway, Neil Patrick Harris took over.

Criss was one of Harris' replacements, and here in Hollywood he is inexpressibly, addictively wonderful. However skeptical you may initially feel about his Hedwig's startling hairstyle, German accent, screeching vocals, insinuating puns, muscular thighs and panther-like leaps, by the end of the evening you will feel devastated to part from him.

Under the direction of Michael Mayer, Criss has impeccable timing and such vivid and detailed expressions and gestures that it's a struggle to look away from him, even for a moment.

. . .

I have to admit that I wasn't quite sure what happened toward the end of the show, when Hedwig and Tommy Gnosis appeared to merge into one person. My companions suggested afterward that I was overthinking it and ought to see it as an “apotheosis" or a "passing of the torch" or a metaphor for Hedwig's "acceptance" of her own identity. Whatever was going on, I loved it. I never would have imagined, as that kid in New Jersey, I’d someday regard a show about a botched sex-change operation as a great American musical.

Simply fantastic review! celebrate :bravo

Poppy

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These tweets were based on Opening Night (Wednesday, November 2)

From dailydarrennews:













Hedwig’s Opening Night in Los Angeles - November 2, 2016
dailydarrennews



Note:  Max Landis is a screenwriter, director, producer, and actor.  Vince Rodriguez III is an actor (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend).  Jennifer Wolfe is a Peabody-winning journalist and storyteller.  Patrick Gomez works at People Magazine.    Garon Cockrell is a producer and writer.  Alex Cohen us a radio journalist.  Sara Rue is an actor, as is Olesya Rulin.

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From dailydarrennews:


juliegarnye:Then sometimes your friend Darren absolutely blows you away to the point of speechlessness. @darrencriss - you had my heart from the first downbeat of tonight. Tonight, you were BEYOND. Absolutely magnificent in every possible way. I adore you, you crazy talented man. #hedwig #cherrypopped













melodysev: Hanging out backstage with Darren Criss! Thank you @darrencriss for being so awesome tonight! Much transformers love to you! You freakin killed it tonight in a show that’s so dear to me! I know you’re going to rock all the upcoming shows as well! #Hedwig #hedwigandtheangryinch #pantagestheatre #spinningtoyourrockandroll #itsacarwashladiesandgentlemen #darrencriss #amazingshow

Note:  Melody Severns works in animation on "Transformers."






fallenjunkie:
lulureneeb: Thinking back on last night at the #hedwigandtheangryinch opening. I still feel like I’m picking my mouth up off the floor because this fella right here completely rocked my face off. The show is filled with so much sass and excitement! It pulled at my heart strings and made me want to wear a lot more glitter. #neverabadthing SO PROUD OF YOU D! @darrencriss






Great review!
USC Annenberg Media wrote:
'Hedwig And The Angry Inch' Wows At Hollywood Pantages

There is no intermission – just ninety minutes of no holds barred rock music, fabulous drag costumes and wigs, and a gradual stripping down to Hedwig's most vulnerable self. In this touring production, led by Darren Criss, who played the role for five weeks on Broadway and co-starring Lena Hall, who won a 2014 Tony in her role, we hurtle toward the conclusion with no chance to pump the brakes.

Simply put, the show is fantastic. Criss has made a career playing clean-cut guys with a boyish charm, like his breakout role as Blaine Anderson on "Glee." His sterling takes on pop hits like "Teenage Dream" and covers of Disney songs have demonstrated his winning vocal abilities. With Hedwig, Criss kicks through that strait-laced image with all the power his high-heeled gold boots will allow. He shows impressive range – moving from the ballad storytelling of "The Origin of Love" to the raunchy antics of "Sugar Daddy" to the bouncy pop of "Wig in a Box" to the vulnerable ache at the heart of "Wicked Little Town." He kicks, climbs, and sashays his way around the stage, jumping into the audience to gyrate on top of guests.

Watching Criss in the role is like watching a live hurricane take the stage – unstoppable and full of power. He commands your attention from the word go. One minute making you gasp with laughter at a joke unsuitable for print, the next breaking your heart with a tale about a search for love and acceptance. Criss reaches down into new depths to expose Hedwig's soul to us, and it pays off in spades. He is, in a word, mesmerizing – sexy, raunchy, raw, and utterly thrilling to watch.

[. . . ]

"Hedwig and the Angry Inch" is a lot of things – a showcase for its two immensely talented leads, a hell of a good time, and ultimately, a meditation on acceptance, self-love, and what it means to be complete – a reminder that we can't really love until we first learn to wholly love ourselves.  Rock concerts can amp you up and send you out into the night on a cloud of glitter and good vibes – it takes putting one into a Broadway musical to make it an experience that also makes you take stock and perhaps be kinder to those around you, and above all, yourself.
via dailydarrennews







From DarrenCrissArmy:
laist wrote:
'Hedwig,' Now A Broadway Diva, Is Back In Town At The Pantages

November 4, 2016


While laugh lines wash over us a mile a minute (some pretty funny, many worthy of Vegas lounge act patter), the best part—the defining part—of Hedwig, as they always have been, are the musical numbers. Engaging as he is in Hedwig's ongoing chat with the audience, Criss becomes a hyper-dynamic figure in these great songs. Backed by a four-piece punk band ensemble dubbed The Angry Inch, along with Hall's Yitzhak, Criss irresistibly evokes the kind of restless exuberance that has always been inherent in the performances of punk icons like Iggy Pop and the New York Dolls. Costumed by Arianne Phillips and groomed by Mike Potter, Criss' Hedwig is also totally glam enough for Hollywood.

One might have been forgiven at the end of the last century for hoping that Hedwig was going to nudge American musical theater in a new direction with an expanded musical and thematic range. So far, that's happened sporadically at best, though a few shows like Spring Awakening, Kinky Boots and Hamilton bear traces of their genderqueer theatrical forebear's DNA. Adaptable and renewable as Mitchell and Trask's show has proven to be, at least, we can probably affirm now that we know Hedwig will never die.
via DarrenCrissArmy



Last edited by Poppy on Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:02 pm; edited 1 time in total

Poppy

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From DarrenCrissArmy:



Very articulate post:

# Repost mjae13

If you’ve watched #darrencriss in #gleeonfox, you will definitely be blown away by his performance in #hedwigandtheangryinch at the #hollywoodpantagestheatre. #DarrenCriss has such a commanding stage presence, and I was really impressed by his vocal reach. He was completely hilarious, shocking, and vulnerable, which is a lot to juggle when in drag, hitting high notes, and undergoing an existential crisis all at once! And I can’t even with #LenaHall. Her voice is otherworldly. Catch this show if you can, #LosAngeles! It will explain why I am so ecstatic to have a used face towel in my hands! #AMustSee #theater #musicals #music #musicalLover #liveperformance #pantages #pantagestheatre #glee #hedwigonbway #ILovemusicals #ilovetheater http://ift.tt/2fnsiRj
via DarrenCRissArmy

Poppy

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I missed this tweet from HedwigOnBway:





(Source: twitter.com)
via DarrenCrissArmy







# Repost hedwigonbway

“Criss - a forceful rock singer - conveys the weary fatigue, anger and optimism all at odds in Hedwig’s soul, appearing very much at home in one of the theater’s most demanding roles.” #hollywoodreporter ⚡️photo: Joan Marcus http://ift.tt/2f9ZADW
via DarrenCrissArmy

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Some tweets:



Note:  LeSeanThomas is a television producer, director, animator, comic book artist, and writer (Legends of Korra, Black Dynamite).


















Note:  Performing Arts LIVE is an online source for music, theater and dance events in Southern Cal.






It's nice of Minerva Productions to tweet their support to Darren. 

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Another article from the Holllywood Reporter (they also wrote this review of Darren at the Pantages Theatre:  'Hedwig and the Angry Inch': Theater Review).   Some nice quotes in the article from those who attended, about Darren as a person and his performance.

The Hollywood Reporter wrote:
Darren Criss Brings 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' to L.A. for Opening Night at Pantages Theatre

11/3/2016 
By Maureen Lee Lenker

"Welcome to the Pantages Theatre, formerly the Homo-tages, then the Metro-tages, now the Pantages," said Criss as he kicked off the show's national touring production.

From Hedwig's welcoming words to the hot pink carpet, the opening night of Hedwig and the Angry Inch was a unique affair, with celebrity fans John Stamos, Demi Moore, Max Landis, Margaret Cho, Ross Mathews, Mae Whitman and Vincent Rodriguez III on hand to herald the musical's arrival in L.A. Its opening night took place at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.

There was a palpable buzz of excitement in the air with many guests, including Parenthood's Whitman, calling the show one of their favorites.

"It's my all-time favorite musical," Cho told The Hollywood Reporter. "I have seen it probably about eighty times all over the world. I actually played Hedwig with [John Cameron Mitchell] at Rockwood in New York."

Hollywood Today Live host Mathews couldn't wait to get inside and find his seat, saying "I know that [Darren Criss] grabs somebody in the front row and makes out with them, so I'm really excited to check my seat to see where I'm sitting. Fingers crossed."

Much of the crowd spoke of their excitement to see Criss, who is known for his breakout performance on Fox’s Glee, take the title role. Riker Lynch, who appeared on Glee as a Warbler alongside Criss, reminisced about his experiences working with the headliner, saying, "Darren is one of the most fun people to work with. When I first got on Glee, I learned a lot about music and writing and how a song structure works from him."

Others reflected on what makes Criss such a unique talent and bright light of the stage. "Darren just has this incredible magnetism that I think stems from him being a very clever guy," said writer/producer Max Landis. "He has this je ne sais quoi, where he can pull funny and interesting out of a hat instantaneously ... and make lines said one hundred times by a hundred actors feel new and spontaneous."

Whitman expressed a similar admiration for Criss' talents. "He is so bright and lively and vivacious," she told THR. "He's really able to bring everyone into his circle of light, and everyone walks away from seeing him perform radiating energy."

Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott was on hand to support his friend and Hedwig costume designer Arianne Phillips, who also designed the costumes for the original 2001 film of the same name. Scott praised Phillips' use of a "subversive look," saying that he loved how Hedwig is "drag, but with a rock’n’roll hard edge."

The musical is a 90-minute, uninterrupted rock concert, with Hedwig telling her story of how she came to perform for the audience that night (a botched sex change operation leaving her with an "angry inch" being part of the journey). It reflects on acceptance and self-love wrapped up in a rock’n’roll package of wigs, glitter, high-heeled boots and rock music.

Choreographer Spencer Liff, who is now prepping his seventh Hedwig for Criss' exit following the show's L.A. run, told THR his work on the show opened new musical avenues for him. "I'm a huge musical theater lover, so I actually wasn’t a big rock music fan, and I discovered amazing people like David Bowie and Iggy Pop through research for Hedwig," he said.

Liff, who has since also choreographed Deaf West's Broadway production of Spring Awakening, said he hopes the rock sound will bring new audiences to musicals. "You get to introduce musical theater to a whole new generation," he noted. "People that might not go see Hello, Dolly! are going to come and see Hedwig and Spring Awakening. Seeing some teenagers walking into the theater for the first time is a really cool part of it."

Many guests remarked upon the importance and resonance of this show’s opening in the week leading up to election night. Mason Alexander Park, the stand-by for the role of Hedwig, said, "The idea that we all just need to embrace the love within ourselves and what we're able to share with other people is very important and relevant, especially in such an oddly hate-filled, scary time."

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Vincent Rodriguez III expressed similar sentiments, saying, "We're dealing with the normalization of elements of human beings that have been true for so long, but we’re now rediscovering it as if it’s never existed. Hedwig is one of those shows where a lot of those things that seem new right now were already engrained. ... We need to remember that we’re all people and we’re all living in the same time together, and we should just love more and accept more."

Hedwig and the Angry Inch runs through Nov. 27 at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre.


There were some very nice quotes, from Riker Lynch (a former Warbler) and Mae Whitman.  I really like this quote from Max Landis in particular:

Max Landis wrote:Others reflected on what makes Criss such a unique talent and bright light of the stage. "Darren just has this incredible magnetism that I think stems from him being a very clever guy," said writer/producer Max Landis. "He has this je ne sais quoi, where he can pull funny and interesting out of a hat instantaneously ... and make lines said one hundred times by a hundred actors feel new and spontaneous."




Note that Max Landis had tweeted this after Opening Night at the Hollywood Pantages:
 

Poppy

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From DarrenCrissArmy:


# Repost savvy_logic

#hedwigonbway #darrencriss were effervescent! You and #lenarockerhall we’re inspiring this afternoon. Completely entrancing and the epitome of entertainers ! I love you! Can’t wait to see it again  http://ift.tt/2fphaXy
via DarrenCrissArmy










# Repost georgeloomis

Fun hanging with u #darrencriss and incredible work tonight!!  You are the coolest #nofx http://ift.tt/2eB8Enk
via DarrenCrissArmy







This sounds like a friend of Darren.

# Repost jbkwolverine

We saw this Wolverine do an unbelievable job today as Hedwig! So so proud of my pal and all he’s accomplished. #hedwig #hedwigandtheangryinch #goblue #yougoboy #herocksdemheels #darrencriss http://ift.tt/2f5WvHt
via DarrenCrissArmy






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Some tweets (regarding the Friday November 4 and Saturday November 5 performances):



Note:  Graham Skipper is an actor (Almost Human, and The Mind's Eye), writer and producer. 





Note:  Michael Rosenbaum is an actor (Impastor, Smallville).

From dailydarrennews, here is the pic with Michael Rosenbaum's tweet:















Last edited by Poppy on Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:32 am; edited 1 time in total

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So many stellar reviews! I am just beside myself with happiness for Darren and the rest of the cast and crew!  I like that several of the reviews also praised Arianne Phillips, Mike Potter, the set designer, etc. 

I hope this leads to some wonderful opportunities for Darren.  The happiness, satisfaction, and appreciation Darren exudes at the cutrain call is such a beautiful sight. I hope he gets to originate and workshop a role toward a Broadway run. A straight darmatic play would be fantastic. Darren would relish the challenge and camaraderie of the entire process. Then he could be nominated for and win a Tony award. But I digress. lol


FYI, Sara Rue worked on "Eastwick" with Darren.  I've always thought that they were friends prior to that too, like at college, but I may be mistaken.  


I'm glad that Chris Mann went to see Darren. He writes his own music as well and was one fo the original Warblers!  


@IamChrisMann: So blown away by my old #Warbler friend, @darrencriss for an incredible performance @hedwigonbway! Bravo! #hedwig #glee #darrencriss


Remember this pic?


That's Chris on the right in the front row.


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@Poppy wrote:I saw Darren in Hedwig tonight (Thursday).  I think I need to gather my thoughts, before I write my review about Hedwig.
I know exactly how your feel, Poppy. Take your time. I look forward to your thoughts and impressions of the show, Darren, Lena, the huge venue, and how things compare to your Belasco experience!  Thank you also for your kind words.  I'm thankful and impressed that you took the time to wade through my flaily rambling and typos (soo many typos!). 


@Poppy wrote:I can share a few things that are easy for me to talk about.   I chatted with this nice lady sitting in front of me. She is a big Hedwig fan, having seen NPH, Andrew Rannells, John, and Darren (twice!) on Broadway.  I could tell she was in awe of John.  She said Neil felt the most ferocious, which impressed her.  She said before she saw Darren she had her doubts, because he seemed too young for the part.  But after she saw him, she felt he was terrific (she saw him twice on Broadwy).   She said he captured Hedwig's pain.  So I, being the nosy person that I am, asked beside John, who stood out for her.  I asked her if it was Neil, since she did seem very taken with his peformance.  She hesitated and like the nice person she is, she said every single Hedwig she saw brought something different and interesting to the show.  She was thinking, and then said while she was impressed with how ferocious Neil's Hedwig is, she was impressed with how she felt Darren really understood the character and what Hedwig was feeling.  And then she took a breath and sighed (literally), and exclaimed with admiration, how Darren's transformation back and forth between Tommy and Hedwig was seamless and effortless in the scene where Hedwig and Tommy are having the conversation near the last 1/3 of the show.   I can tell by her tone of her voice, how moved she was that Darren portrayed the pivotal scene in such an amazing, emotional way.   It was really great talking to someone who was such a big Hedwig fan. 
What a great conversation you had! It warms my heart that she, who has seen several different Hedwigs, thinks so highly of the emotional depth of Darren's Hedwig that she went to see it again in LA.  

I'm happy that you heard those men praising Darren while awaiting your car too.   8)   The reviews and tweets have been so effusive in their admiration of Darren's performance and talent.  I cannot express just how thrilled and happy I am for him!

@Poppy wrote:So the audience was interesting.  Tonight was an evening show.  The last time I saw Darren in Hedwig was on Broadway, during a matinee.  And I have read that the energy of a matinee is much less than that of the evening shows, and I would agree with that, but only in some ways.  This crowd was louder than the Broadway matinee I saw, in terms of applause and hooting with appreciation.  But I had a feeling that this audience, even though more middle-aged, compared to the more elderly folks at the Broadway matinee I saw, knew less about the show they were seeing than the Broadway audience I was with.  Only one person shouted out when Hedwig asked about her hair.  ( I shouted something out to help out since there was only one shout-out, but Hedwig made a joke about moving on, or something.   My husband was laughing at me.)
I agree with you that these west coast audiences know less about the show than the Broadway ones. There was an interesting comment in one of the articles that mentioned the fact that HatAI was part of the Pantages season along with Hamilton.  So if people wanted a crack at getting Hamilton tickets, they purchased the season package. So that may be why some the these people are perhaps going into Hedwig blind.  I would hope people would learn about the show they're seing before they go though. I guess Hedwig has such a history in NYC, many people (except maybe the tourists) had at least a basic knowledge of the show. 

I've also been wondering about the new entrance at the beginning of the show, and the tone that it sets.  To me, the Broadway entrance where Hedwig descends from the rafters and bursts out of the covering jumpsuit (?) and headpiece sets such a strong tone for the show.  The new one is a bit more comical, and perhaps sets a lighter tone at the get go.  Both lead into the powerful "Tear Me Down", but with a different tone.  I dunno. 

And twinsies again, Poppy!  I was the only person to yell out a description for Hedwig's hair at my performance.  I was a bit surprised because there were several fans that had been to multiple shows in the first two center orchestra rows and I would have thought they would have been ready to feed Hedwig some great comments to work with. It was embarrassing, but I tried to help her out.  lol 

@Poppy wrote:I couldn't see who was kissed, but it appears that whoever it was left.   Hedwig remarked on it during the show.  I have never heard of this happening before.  It was shocking to me, and really unfortunate.  And again, I am so impressed with how Darren just ran with it, and made a joke to the person who was sitting next to the person who left, about how glad she/he is still there.  And at curtain call, being the sweet person he is, Darren looked at the person (persons) who were sitting next to the person(s) who left and again thanked them.  It was very sweet and genuine.
Such an unfortunate and wasted moment. Darren commenting to the couple on the side of those empty seats was very gracious of him.  Class act--especially the fact that he takes the time to appreciate and thank those people that Hedwig interacted with throughout the show.   
@Poppy wrote:
And sadly, I had some not-so-desirable seat partners.  My husband and I were sitting in the aisle seats (where Yitzhak walks at the end).   There was a couple who came a good 10-15 minutes after the show started, and the poor usher was going up and down the aisle with a flashlight, shining on the row numbers in one area for what felt like a good minute.   To my  horror, they figured out it was my row that the couple was sitting in, so everyone had to stand to let the couple in, who had the middle seats.    Then later, the man who came late, stood up and needed to leave (to go the restroom?) during the time that Hedwig and Tommy are having THE conversation!  He returned to be seated again with the usheer, and had to walk through our row (hubbie and I are at the end of the row), literally a few seconds just before the part where Tommy rejects Hedwig!  I was sooooo disappointed, I felt crushed that that scene was ruined for me.   I'm still trying to move on, from my disappointment. 

I've been to a good number of shows, at the Ahmanson and Mark Taper in Los Angeles, and a few at the Pantages.   The Ahmanson has a strict policy of not allowing people who arrive after the show has started, to enter the theater, because of the distraction (I know this because my friend was not allowed to enter the theater when she arrived 10 minutes late).   This wasn't the case with the Pantages.   And I guess because most of the shows I've seen have intermissions, I have never (that I can remember) encountered the problem of people interrupting my viewing of the show, due to them needing to leave to use the restroom during the show.  People arriving late of course do not have time to use the restroom before the show starts, and he was elderly, so I am not faulting him for needing to go.  But he changed my experience for tonight. 

At curtain call, the couple to my right decided to leave, so we had to focus on moving out of the way for them, right when I was trying to focus on Darren's bright face looking so happy at curtain call, which was unfortunate as well.  
Oh Poppy, I'm so sorry to hear that you were taken out of the story at such inconvenient and pivotal!!!! moments!  Yikes.  You have every right to feel disappointed. To have your focus to abruptly interrupted is a horrible thing. sad face  I guess it can happen with a show that does not having an intermission, so I guess the ushers tried to choose a time that was least distracting.  But you would think that the couple would have made sure to come earlier, especially to get everything done before the show starts.  And then to have people trying to get through to leave at the curtain call.  mad 
 Well, at least you'll have another show that will hopefully dispel all of those disappointing memories with beautiful ones of those moments.
@Poppy wrote:Don't get me wrong, I loved the show tonight.   But I'm still feeling the sting of disappointment, and I need to gather my thoughts more on differences I noticed in Darren's performance tonight from the Broadway show I saw, but I can say this right now.  Darren has only gotten stronger, both in singing, his song performances, and his acting.  

Throughout the night, I was thinking to myself:  "Oh my god.  He is truly so wonderful at this." 
You have every right to feel disappointed and I'm so sorry to hear that hapened. On the other hand, I'm so thrilled that you noticed that Darren has developed so nicely in all those areas!  I cannot wait to hear more about your observations and insights.  :happy face 

@Poppy wrote:Just so I don't finish on a downer note (I'm so sorry for venting), my husband and I didn't discuss the show much on the way home.  He was tired, tough week at work,   So I held back, and didn't ask him 101 questions, like I normally would.  I simply asked him what he thought of the show, and how did he think Darren did, reminding him to be honest.  He said he wasn't sure how much he would enjoy the show, but he said he really, really (yes, he said "really" twice)) loved it!    He was moved.  He thought Darren did "very well" in his acting and his singing.  BTW, that is a high compliment from my husband, who is a tough critic.  When it comes to the younger actors, he rarely expresses that he feels an actor did "well" in terms of dramatic acting, so that he said Darren did "verywell," is big (to me).    He said that Darren was very good in terms of his facial expressions and his voice in terms of expressing emotion.

My husband also high-fived Lena as Yitzhak walked through the aisle.  It seemed that during the distance Lena had to walk to our row, there were only a few hands sticking out for her (due to the audience not being familiar with the show?), so she seemed very grateful for the hands that were extended to her.  ha!  My husband said she had a very firm grip ("she almost took my hand off").

EDIT:  ha!  One thing I want to mention, my husband exclaimed:  "Darren got really buff!"  
I'm glad your husband enjoyed the show. He really is such a sweetie--and observant too! Ha!  :big grin
@Poppy wrote:So I will write back, after I've processed more.  Sorry again for my negative venting
No need to apologize,  It wasn't negative at all, you were just expressing how you legitimately felt. That's exactly the beauty of having this palce to post. So thank you again for creating this lovely Darren Haven for us fans, Poppy!
:hug


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I'm glad you both had a nice time, although it was a bit less nice for Poppy.

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Thanks for your comments, guys.  I need to dash but I will return!  Hope everyone is having a nice weekend!

Off topic, but am so excited about the prospect that we may be seeing Darren on our TV screens again!  Until we get confirmation that this project is picked up by FOX, we can discuss the  project about songwriter characters in the Darren Appreciation Thread.  (I'll open up a new thread of course, once we get that much anticipated confirmation!)

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@Lilikoiluv wrote:I hope this leads to some wonderful opportunities for Darren. 

It looks like Darren did something right to be connected to the FOX project that Lin brought to our attention.  Maybe it was his run in Hedwig on Broadway?  I'm sure the network's relationship with Darren when he was on Glee was very positive, and it clearly was evident to the public, the media and network executives that he had star quality when he landed with a splash in Season 2!


@Lilikoiluv wrote:The happiness, satisfaction, and appreciation Darren exudes at the cutrain call is such a beautiful sight. I hope he gets to originate and workshop a role toward a Broadway run. A straight darmatic play would be fantastic. Darren would relish the challenge and camaraderie of the entire process. Then he could be nominated for and win a Tony award. But I digress. lol

He looks so happy at curtain call!   It warms your heart!  I also am hoping that some day he can originate and workshop a Broadway project (or off-Broadway project).   I agree, he would love being involved from the start and would absorb it all up like a sponge.  Aw, a Tony nomination . . . Darren would explode!

Thanks for the info about Sara Rue and Chris Mann.  Who did Sara Rue play on Eastwick?  I had no idea Chris Mann was a Warbler.  The first time I could remember seeing him was on The Voice.   Just thought Darren and Chris Mann knew each other because of both being involved in music.  I love that pic of the Season 2 Warblers, Lilikoiluv!  Thanks for searching for it and posting it here!!

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No wading was done, Lilikoiluv!   I loved every word that you wrote (so articulately!) in your wonderful review. 

@Lilikoiluv wrote:What a great conversation you had! It warms my heart that she, who has seen several different Hedwigs, thinks so highly of the emotional depth of Darren's Hedwig that she went to see it again in LA. 

@Lilikoiluv wrote:The reviews and tweets have been so effusive in their admiration of Darren's performance and talent.  I cannot express just how thrilled and happy I am for him!


Me too, Lilikoiluv!

It'll take me a while to post my thoughts completely, and it's been a bit hectic in my life right now.  I can say right now that when I saw Darren on Thursday night, November 3 (it seems so long ago, for some reason), you are hyper-aware of how huge the Pantages Theater.  It is enormous compared to the Belasco Theatre; it is enormous just period.  In fact, the nice woman who I spoke with said she was concerned about the intimacy being lost, and that intimacy was important to this show. 

I sat in Center Orchestra, Row H, so just  8th row from stage.  When I saw him on Broadway, I was in Row F, so just 2 rows less than Thursday night.  I don't know if it was the lighting, or something else, but I just felt much farther away.  I know I have read people remarking how the first row at the Pantages is farther from the stage.  I remember at the Belasco, his face was crystal clear, like he was standing really close to me.  I didn't have that feeling at the Pantages, even though i wasn't even that far.  Obviously, he wasn't that far from my row, but it didn't feel like he was right in front of me like I felt at the Belasco.

@Lilikoiluv wrote:I agree with you that these west coast audiences know less about the show than the Broadway ones. There was an interesting comment in one of the articles that mentioned the fact that HatAI was part of the Pantages season along with Hamilton.  So if people wanted a crack at getting Hamilton tickets, they purchased the season package. So that may be why some the these people are perhaps going into Hedwig blind. 


Yes, I also think that the number of season subscribers this season must have shot way up, due to Hamilton being part of the package.  In some ways, Hedwig and the Angry Inch tour being part of the Pantages season package  really has helped the Hedwig tour.  I don't believe they (or any of the other shows in the season package that are not Hamilton), would have so many seats sold for Hedwig at the Pantages if they were not included in the same package that contained Hamilton.   With such a large theater that contains so many seats, that's a big monetary bonus to the Hedwig tour production.  But the down side is that I think the audience members who are in the closest seats (reserved for season ticket holders) have no idea what Hedwig is about.   I'm not sure how much of the Orchestra Season tickets holders occupy, especially in this season with Hamilton.   I think most people don't research the shows that are included in the season package (they should research, but I doubt if they do), whereas like you said, Hedwig on Broadway won so many awards and ran for a good, healthy run with some high-profile actors, that many people (except the tourists) most likely knew something about it.

My experience on Thursday night with the distractions bothered me enough that I decided to see the matinee show on Saturday with Darren.  I previously had bought tickets that were reasonably priced ($50 each) in the Orchestra (but to the far right) to see Lena Hall on Sunday night.  But after attending the Thursday night show, I decided to exchange those tickets to see Darren instead.   I got really lucky and was in Row C, 3rd row, Center Orchestra.  Perfect view, even clearer than the view I had at the Belasco (which was not as centered).   The woman who got the glasses sat to my right and was a big Darren fan.   :amused  

The man who sat to my  husband's left was a huge Hedwig fan.  He saw NPH, John and Taye Diggs on Broadway and saw Michael C. Hall in a Hedwig production on Halloween in some other venue, not  on Broadway.   He adored John, didn't prefer NPH although still liked him, and thought Taye Diggs brought a lot of interesting things to the show, mentioning how Taye's Hedwig was very angry.  He didn't know who Darren was since he didn't watch Glee.   He predicted who would be carwashed, a man occupied with his phone in the second row!  He was correct.  We smiled at each other when that happened.  He also predicted that the whole front row, which he was certain were  season ticket holders, would leave because the music would be too loud and since they wouldn't know the show.  Fortunately, he was wrong; no one left in the front row.  Darren kissed a middle-aged man at the  end of the front row, and as he approached the man, the man started laughing (and looking a bit nervous).  Darren licked his face and gave him a quick smooch and the guy was good sport, still laughing.  Darren did ask the man if he was together with the woman next to him, saying that she did not look happy (wasn't sure if Darren was joking), then the remark about the three of them coming together.

(Note:  Since this is a tour, with the majority of the people in the front section of the Orchestra that lays closer to the stage being season ticket holders, I think Darren handled the kiss on the Saturday matinee perfectly.   He verbally teased the man, made it evident he was going to him, and when he saw the man laughing, Darren playfully licked his cheek and gave a quick kiss, not a French kiss.)

Unfortunately, the man who I spoke to who was a big Hedwig fan left in the middle of the show.  I had glanced at him periodically, and saw that he was bopping in his seat to Darren's singing and really seemed to be enjoying himself.   But then in the middle of the show, he pulled out his phone, closed up his bag and abruptly left, so I'm guessing something came up.  Hope he and his family are ok.

Yes, the new entrance is a bit incongruous to the tone of the beginning of the show.  Not fierce, flamboyant, and colorful, but more physical comedy, with the fabric falling on top of Hedwig and Hedwig struggling to get out of it.  I thought it was a bit strange, but people were laughing, so I guess from the start, the show runners  wanted the audience to relax and feel less threatened?

Ha!  Good for you, Lilikoiluv!   Luckily, for the Saturday matinee show, I spoke to the Darren fan to my right and she promised she had something ready to help Darren out regarding Hedwig's hair.  And she followed through with "effervescent."  There was this cute elderly lady, obviously an enthusiastic Hedwig fan, judging by how she was happily dancing in her seat, who also yelled something out, but since she had late timing (like I did on Thursday night) Hedwig hilariously asked whose name was outside on the marquee.  Darren went on for a little bit with that, asking the lady if she was ok with Hedwig continuing with the show, and people were laughing. 

And thanks for your sympathy, Lilikoiluv.  In any other show, I'm sure it (standing up several times for someone in my row) wouldn't have bothered me.  But I really was looking forward to that pivotal scene the most, since it is the climax of the story, and because Darren is so (in my opinion) brilliant in that scene, and anyway, I was just really disappointed because of the distraction of having to stand up to allow the man back into his seat, and then to have to try to get myself back into the scene, right at the climax of the story).   But I understand this happens. Traffic is horrible in Los Angeles, and late arrivals happen, and the policy differs according the each theater.  It unfortunately set a chain reaction for this man, since he probably didn't have a chance to use the restroom prior to the show. 

The Saturday show was perfect.  So I'm more than happy now.  The audience was much better as a whole too, seemed there were more Hedwig fans there than on Thursday night, so the energy was much better.   A good number of people in the Orchestra (not just the front part) lifted their hands at the end.   My husband enjoyed the Saturday matinee show even more than the Thursday night show, just as I did, not just because of the lack of distractions at the Saturday matinee show, but because we had a perfect view being so close, and he said he could see Darren's face so clearly, with all the various facial expressions of Darren's characters.  After the Saturday matinee show, my husband said that he thought Darren was "amazing" in the scene where Hedwig and Tommy  had the life-changing interaction.  I couldn't believe my ears that my husband used the word "amazing."  :amused  He loved the different voices that Darren used for the various characters.  He was the most interested in hearing Darren sing live, and thought Darren did "great," commenting that he hit some impressive notes, showing a good range and a strong voice, and had a nice tone.  His favorite song was Wig in a Box and the ballads, since he liked the emotion that Darren's voice conveyed in those songs.  

@Lilikoiluv wrote:No need to apologize,  It wasn't negative at all, you were just expressing how you legitimately felt. That's exactly the beauty of having this palce to post. So thank you again for creating this lovely Darren Haven for us fans, Poppy!

Thank you for your sympathy, Lilikoiluv.  I appreciate it. 

And thanks for your words too, Jeremy.



Last edited by Poppy on Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:24 am; edited 1 time in total

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From DarrenCrissArmy,   another review.  :happy face


Showbiz 411 wrote:
Darren Criss, John Cameron Mitchell Update "Hedwig" for L.A., Adding "The guy with the Tic Tacs"


November 6, 2016 by Leah Sydney

HOLLYWOOD– Please leave me alone! Hedwig implored Donald Trump at the opening night at the recent premiere of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” at the Pantages in Hollywood. “The guy with the Tic Tacs is stalking me on Grindr (a popular gay dating app) and wanting to grope me. Please leave me alone!”

As an avid fan since the show opened up at Jane Street in New York years ago, I’ve been looped into the Tony award winning “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” — which premiered on Broadway in 2014. John Cameron Mitchell’s brilliant book, along with Stephen Trask’s rock score, created a show that has been a lasting cult hit, cultivating Hed-heads around the world.

Hedwig, an East German rock singer– perhaps a man or a woman gender fluid sensitive soul — who endured a botched sex change operation, is played by the truly brilliant Darren Criss of “Glee” fame. Criss has experience with the role, he stepped in for Neil Patrick Harris on Broadway. Criss captures the soulful pain and the intimate crises that befall the long suffering Hedwig. The show is site specific, with Hedwig telling the audience that the Pantages is available, at the request of producer Bobby Nederlander, because of the sudden closing of “Hurt Locker: The Musical.” (I have to admit I picked up my “Hurt Locker” playbill before the show started and I was baffled, but a trashed car and bloodstains on the stage were obvious clues.)

Criss added to the Trump banter with, “If I wanted to see a mess in an L.A. theater, I could just see L.A. Theater.”
He also chided one of this band members with a reference to his “Glee” co star, “Lea Michele could do it better.”

[. . .]

Criss is simply fantastic is the role, conveying soulful pain as well as pitch perfect comic timing. “I lost an uncle at Auschwitz, granted he fell out of a guard tower.” When the audience groaned Criss quipped back, “Too soon?” Criss is irresistible; his performance will be an enduring Hedwig. The tale is fraught with drama, Hedwig’s bi-polar behavior, her scandalous background with the now famous rock star Tommy Gnosis, while her career is on life support. The story, the concept of “Hedwig” has ironically turned into a musical for the ages. Exciting, clever, loud, poignant, theater perfection. Don’t miss it.







 A review by an avid theater fan, well-written (found via twitter):

cahighways wrote:
One is the Loneliest Number "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" @ Pantages

November 6, 2016.  By CAHWYGUY

Hedwig is also a topical musical. Unlike musicals that have a set book, the musical is like Hedwig herself — a little bit fluid around the edges. Each production is tailored to the time and the location — hence the references to Los Angeles, the audience interaction, the reference to the Hollywood Bowl, and veiled references to both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton (when Hedwig proclaims herself to be a “nasty woman”).

[. . . ]

Hedwig is topical, gender bending, in-your-face, transformative, loud, gentle, and surprisingly complicated. It is a clear example of how what we see on the surface is only that — the surface — and that the complexity and strange directions of people’s lives color us in way we can’t expect. We put on the clothes, we put on the wig, we put on the expectations, and we… become. Every Hedwig is different — and there have been many in the role — but they are also the same. Hedwig exposes that common humanity, and exposes that urge to find the person from whom you were torn asunder. You walk out of the show a little confused, but with an ultimately positive feeling.

. . .

Bringing this Hedwig to life is Darren Criss (FB). Criss’ performance leaves one at a loss for words. Under the direction of Michael Mayer, Criss lives and breathes Hedwig. The personas merge; you truly believe he is she, is Hedwig. It is also clear that she, meaning he, is having a blast on  stage with this role — with a rare liberty to go all out, to play with the audience and the character, to go (within reason) beyond the staid book of a musical. It is just an astounding performance that you will remember long after.

Note included by the writer:
"Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre critic; I am, however, a regular theatre audience member. I’ve been attending live theatre and concerts in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted. I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form."

Note:  The writer goes on to demonstrate a great familiarity with theater in southern California.

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