When I was 16 or 17, my family had DirecTV, which meant we had the IFC channel.
Being artsy fartsy even then, I watched a lot of IFC, even though, being extremely sheltered and Roman Catholic, I usually had no idea what the hell was going on in most of these movies about sex, drugs, and occasionally, rock and roll.
One night, I was flipping channels, and I saw this: one sweaty man in extremely low slung leather pants singing to another sweaty man in extremely low slung leather shorts.
I kept watching.
(And also, like, emotional depth and stuff.)
By the end of the scene, I felt… heartbroken. I may have had tears in my eyes. And mind you, I still had no idea what was even going on in this movie or who these characters were. That’s how powerful the scene was.
Go ahead and watch this. I’ll wait. And yes, that is Michael Pitt.
I stalked IFC for several weeks after that, always catching the movie at a different time, always hearing a different song and seeing a different scene. I never knew what I was watching, but it was always the most unique thing I had ever seen on screen at that point in my life.
My sister bought me the DVD for Christmas, and my parents begrudgingly got me the piano book (though my mom very clearly did not get the whole concept of a guy wearing a wig and did not like it. Her stance on this show is the same as with poling: “Well, whatever makes you happy, Cathryn).
I taught myself to play the ballads and sang along to them as my rebellion. Yeah, I know. I was a really good kid.
It wasn’t until college, when I did my final project for a musical theater class on Hedwig and the Angry Inch that I even realized that Hedwig was an Off-Broadway show before it was a movie
So imagine my pee-your-pants excitement then, when I found out–while living in New York City, as I had always dreamed of as an artsy fartsy 16-year old–that Hedwig was coming to Broadway as a revival.
Also, imagine my hatred for Neil Patrick Harris, celebrity alone was hiking up ticket prices and selling out the show for months.
Fuck you, NPH. (JK, you’re so talented!)
FINALLY, he threw deuces, and Andrew Rannells rolled up. At long last, I got to see this show.
I won’t bother trying to describe what finally seeing all these songs I knew by heart performed live, but, it was great. And it ALSO reminded me how much I love this one song “The Long Grift” that is in the show, but was cut from the movie. (…which I was able to find anyway at age 16 because I had excellent Kazaa skills).
It’s Hedwig’s song: it’s a sad ballad about getting abandoned by Tommy Gnosis. But in the stage show, Hedwig’s too distressed to actually sing it. Yitzahk grabs the microphone at the last minute as the opening chords wind down into the first verse: “Look what you’ve done.”
Obviously, being who I am now, my first thought was, MY GOD, I HAVE TO POLE TO THIS. Even sitting in a darkened theater watching a live Broadway show. I know, there’s no hope for me.
So, I’ll just leave this here… (in a link too, in case the embed code doesn’t work, which I suspect it won’t).
Oh and here’s me and my sister after the show with FOUR autographs, including Andrew Rannells and Lena Hall (who’s the killer voice on “Grift.” Mission fucking accomplished and then some.