As part of Montreal Pride festivities, In the Wings Promotions proudly bring us the Broadway runaway hit Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Karan from Montreal Rampage spoke to Producer/Actor Noelle Hannibal about the show:
Karan S: Tell us a little about the show and how it is different from its predecessor renditions (including the Broadway version from 2014). Do you feel you are going to be true to them or create something new with the story material?
Noelle H: I fell in love with Hedwig the first time I saw it. My dear friend Michael Cerveris took over from John Cameron Mitchell, in the original off-Broadway production and then brought the show to Los Angeles, where I was born and raised. Fun fact: That production was produced by David Bowie, who is one of my musical idols. Our production is more in-line with the original off-Broadway production. The script we are using is from a revision done in 2000. The Broadway production was tailored to a large Broadway house, but I felt it was important to stay true to the origins of the show. It’s why I have chosen to produce it at a drag bar, similar to the bars in which the show was originally developed by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask. Musically, it’s an amalgam of the off-Broadway and Broadway scores. Stephen Trask (composer/lyricist) told me that he preferred the updated, rockier “Sugar Daddy,” as opposed to the country version from the original production. So we are doing Stephen’s preference.
Karan: What inspired you to remount a show like this vs. creating something original?
Noelle: When I started producing musicals, I had to make a choice. I chose to tailor to the market. I very specifically select shows that have a cross over appeal. My first show was Chess, which had the Abba connection, along with the hit song, “One Night in Bangkok.” My next show was The Who’s Tommy. I followed that up with Hair. I have been successful at not only doing what I love, but also being fortunate to draw in an audience. That’s not to say that I don’t love original musicals and plays. I’ve been lucky enough to perform in several workshops of original musicals. But for In the Wings, I will continue producing contemporary musicals for a wider audience.
Karan: What makes Pride Montreal an important place to be and why do you see Hedwig’s inclusion in 2019 Montreal Pride festivities important?
Noelle: The show was created in a time before language around gender had evolved to where it is today. As JCM says, “it’s a queer fairy-tale.” It’s an important show in that it is one of the first of its kind. I was overwhelmed when we were invited to present the show during Pride after our first run last November.
Karan: How is this story, set at the end of the Cold War, important 30 years later in today’s context?
Noelle: Oof. I mean, if you look at what is happening in the US, it feels like we are moving backwards. Have we learned nothing?
Karan: Hedwig is a story about finding oneself, either through the prism of the ‘other half’ or just a sense of finding self love. How does this story personally resonates with your life experience, if at all?
Noelle: We all seek love, acceptance, validation. I still don’t think I have come as far as Hedwig has throughout her journey. But every time I watch her and listen to her, I’m reminded of where I could be and I strive to get there.
Karan: What would you like audiences to take away from the show?
Noelle: We would like our audiences to come in with an open mind and an open heart. I would hope that the piece opens a dialogue. It’s thought provoking. It’s a comedy AND a tragedy. And it rocks!
In the Wings Promotions in association with Fierté Montréal / Montréal Pride Presents HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH on August 8, 9 and 10, 2019 at 8PM and August 10, 2019 at 11PM, Café Cléopatra, 1230 boul St-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2X 2S5 Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 for students, seniors and members of CAEA, ACTRA, UdA and QDF and $20 for groups of 10 or more. Special VIP tickets are $35 and include a front row seat and non-alcoholic beverage. Tickets are on sale NOW at http://hedwigmontreal.com/tickets.html or by calling 514-613-4597