Concert Reviews

What Does An Inch Matter?

Glam rock musical ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ has been resurrected for the first time in eight years in Cleveland and the play and its players have lost none of their sass and appeal. First produced at the Cleveland Public Theatre, the cast has come together once more to bring us the saga of Hedwig, a transgendered rocker who dresses like a woman but has neither the functioning parts of a man or a woman. The Hi-Fi Concert Club in Lakewood is perhaps an even more fitting venue, as the play was originally set in a bar.

Dan Folino reprises the role of Hedwig, a part that catapulted him to stardom in the musical theatre scene when the play was first produced, and with good reason. Alison Garrigan’s directing lends itself to a tight ensemble cast performance. From the opening notes of “Tear Me Down,” Folino owns the stage, both with his incredible bravado as well as his amazing voice. Analyzing how humans come together in love with the song “Origin of Love,” Folino leaves nary a dry eye in the house and he hits every note with passion.

The back up band looks and sounds fabulous thanks to Dennis Yurich’s musical direction, and the set and lighting, although sparse, enhances the rugged emotionalism of the play. Capturing each beat within a scene and milking it for all its worth, Folino never steps out of the spotlight. His ability to morph between his mother, his ex husband Luther, and his ex lover Tommy Gnosis, is astonishing. He changes voices and postures with grace and easily slips back into the role of Hedwig. From sarcasm to genuine sadness, with humor and panache, Folino connects with every member of the audience. His incredible voice takes us on an epic journey, with soaring highs and terrible lows, to face the unknown in ourselves and really think about the meaning of love, and that it is not necessarily between only a man and a woman, but between two spirits that have come together because they fit, they complete each other.

Without a doubt, Folino’s vocal chops and acting skills surpass those of the film version of his character. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a memorable glam rock extravaganza that may never see the light of day with this talented cast again, so catch it before it disappears in a haze of glitter.

‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ is playing at the Hi-Fi in Lakewood until October 3rd, 2009. For a list of performance times, to purchase tickets, and for more information on the show, visit www.hedwigcleveland.com.

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