3 Reasons I'm NOT Excited about a Hedwig Sequel
Just to clear the air first, I have impeccable credentials when it comes to Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I saw the original off-Broadway production with John Cameron Mitchell while on my senior trip in New York City. I saw the absolute first screening of the film adaptation when it was shown here in Houston at the MFAH. Finally, I directed the first stage production of the show in Houston at Fitzgerald's in 2004, in addition to playing Tommy Gnosis in pre-shot footage. I am not a casual fan, is what I'm trying to say.
So you would think that I would be shorts-browningly excited to hear that John Cameron Mitchell was teaming up with Stephen Trask to bring a sequel back to the stage. Broadway.com reported that reading of the upcoming production was to take place in Provincetown, Massachusetts, this September. "We spend so much of our early lives trying to figure out who we really are," Mitchell said of the show's themes. "And we spend the rest of our lives preparing ourselves to let it go."
Make no bones about it, I'm going to see the show if I have to crawl on bloody stumps, but I'm not looking forward to it. There's a lot that can, and almost certainly will, go wrong with it. Such as...
Ask anyone what the best part of Hedwig was and they'll tell you that it was the unbelievably amazing soundtrack that Trask and Mitchell wrote together. My God, "Midnight Radio" alone is reason to own it, and I had "Origin of Love" played at my wedding. It's maybe the most perfect modern soundtrack since Velvet Goldmine, and even the album cut "Random Number Generation" that Miriam Shor did is killer.
Trask has gone on to do some pretty good scores for a dozen or so films, including a pretty catchy one for Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, but his only really comparable work to Hedwig is the songs he wrote for 2003's Prey for Rock and Roll starring Gina Gershon.
If you haven't seen it, do so. Gershon plays the aging lead singer of an L7-esque band that never quite made it, and it's a bald, beautiful look at what it means to be in a band. It also features original songs by Trask, and with the exception of the title track, every single one of them is basically a forgettable Hole knock-off. There just aren't those experimental twists, the epic scope or the clever phrases that Mitchell contributed. Maybe working together again will rekindle that, but as a rocker Trask has just not been on his game since.