I use abbreviations for the actors. NPH is Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig 1 on Broadway). Andrew Rannells is Hedwig 2. MCH is Michael C. Hall (Hedwig 3). JCM is John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig 4 on Broadway and the original Hedwig and co-creator years ago). Darren is the 5th Hedwig on Broadway. Taye Diggs followed Darren as the 6th Hedwig on Broadway.
This person was impressed with NPH when he played Hedwig.
He apparently liked Darren's singing so much, that he tweeted this:
May 2, 2015
Note: John Shevlin is long-time Hedwig fan, and also is a fan of Glee. He is a big fan of John Cameron Mitchell and has seen him in Hedwig several times, including on John's opening night.
May 3, 2015
@_whatshername is a Hedwig fan, who has seen 3 actors play Hedwig, as well as a fan of Darren. She has seen JCM, but I'm not sure who the other Hedwig actor is. Here, she is talking with a friend about Darren in Hedwig. I assume "MR" is "Midnight Radio," one of the most emotional songs in the show.
She also discussed Darren's performance with another Hedwig fan, who asked how Darren was doing in the musical.
This person is a fan of Darren. She had seen NPH in the role, and she saw Darren on his opening night (April 29, 2015), and returned to see him again on May 3 and Friday, May 8.
Okay. So I was going to wait until July when this whole world wind was over to write my thoughts/feelings/critiques etc down. However, after last nights performance, I NEED to say something now. As a preface, my first introduction to Hedwig was last summer when I saw NPH in it. I quickly fell in love. At the time I thought to myself, “I would KILL to see Darren in this. But it would never happen”. Then in November(ish) Stephen gave that interview where he said he would love to see Darren in the role and it both delighted and surprised me. The more I thought about it the more I wanted it. THEN it happened. The announcement came. Yet, instead of delight, I felt trepidation. I knew deep down that Darren could do. I knew that he wouldn’t do it unless he really believed he could. However, I was nervous as shit for him. My sister is a hedhead and when I told her the news she was so skeptical and thought there was no way Darren could do it. I immediately defended him and that’s when I realized YES THIS WILL BE AMAZING! (In the interim I saw JCM in the role).
I went to opening night, sat behind Max Adler, and enjoyed the heck out of it. Darren impressed me vocally, especially on the harder rock songs. I thought he did a great job but definitely needed some improvement, as is expected with an opening night. The two biggest shortcomings, for me, were It felt too rehearsed and the relationship between Hedwig and Yitzak just wasn’t really there.
I returned last Sunday for the matinee, (sat in the very last row of the theater) and already saw vast improvement. He seemed more comfortable and at ease, not just in the role but with the audience interaction as well. His physicality was spot on and his Tommy Gnosis, MY GOD!!! I could also see that Darren and Rebecca had figured out the relationship, which was a great thing to see.
I wasn’t planning on going back so soon, but when they announced the discounted tickets, I couldn’t pass them up. So I went again last night, Friday, and sat in the first row in the mezzanine and I have no words, yet was compelled to write SOMETHING. I was transfixed the whole time. I can’t even say Darren nailed absolutely everything, because Darren wasn’t on that stage AT ALL. Every critique I had for the past week vanished. This was the best I ever saw the show performed, yes including NPH and JCM. I couldn’t get over the physicality. Just the way he transitions from each character with not just his voice but physically, it’s astonishing. The part that amazes me the most is Wicked Little Town Reprise. Darren completely drops Hedwig and just becomes Tommy in that moment. Even in the way he sings the song. With, NPH and JCM, it almost as if they just drop the accent and sing the song in their normal voice, but Darren sings it as Tommy. I really don’t know how to describe it. It’s truly like Tommy Gnosis comes to life before your very eyes. Then when the lights come back up after the song, *poof* he’s gone and Hedwig is standing there now. It’s almost like a magic trick. I was in awe and completely speechless watching the last 10 min or so. Then curtain call happens and BAM there is Darren in all his glory. It’s the first time he graces you with his presence the whole night.
Before the run started I had tickets for 3 shows (opening, the end of May, and closing). I figured by the time I saw him at the end of May he’d have all the kinks figured out and would really be settling into the role. I’m so happy that I got impromptu tickets for this past week, because in just a week he has completely taken this role and owned the shit out of it. If it’s this great a week in, I can only imagine what’ll be like in 3 weeks when I sit in the front row and bask in the glory of this amazing, crazy, fearless, wounded, beautiful woman.