Hedwig and the Angry Inch


She makes her entrance like a star dying to be born—goose-stepping through the audience with the arrogant aplomb of Marlene Dietrich and Jim Morrison; decked out like a trailer-park tart's idea of a glam-rock fox, in stone-washed denim, and Aryan-yellow, blow-dried mane and red-glitter lipstick; accompanied by the refried-Queen strains of "America the Beautiful" and a surly introduction by her crusty Serbian valet boy toy, Yitzak: "Ladies and gentlemen, whether you like it or not—Hedwig!"

Then the former Hansel Schmidt—now Hedwig, a Yankee Doodle dahling of muddled gender, thanks to a botched 1998 sex-change operation in her native East Berlin—takes the stage and dares you not to accept her as your new, true rock & roll queen.

for ninety minutes, backed by her sullen band, the Angry Inch, Hedwig presses her case for coronation, telling her life story in pun and song like a way-off Broadway hybrid of Sandra Bernhard, Nina Hagen and Courtney Love. Hedwig relates in hilarious detail a grim socialist childhood (listening to armed-forces radio, head in the oven for privacy); her predatory seduction by an American GI and messed switch from he to sort-of-she ("Six inches forward and five inches back/I got an angry inch"); the working life of a transsexual divorcee in Junction City, Kansas ("the jobs well call blow"); and love and collaboration with a teenage dork named Tommy Speck, who she remakes as rock god Tommy Gnosis only to be betrayed and ditched as he goes big time.

It is the opening of Hedwig's "unlimited New York run" and in her act, Hedwig relates her life story in monologue and song, hoping to capitalize on her role in a well-publicized sex and drug tainted incident involving Tommy Gnosis and the slaughter of innocents.

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]