TONY AWARD SPOTLIGHT ON HEDWIG’S LENA HALL
My parents took me and my sister to countless shows as a kid and young adult. They still do. While I don’t remember my first time (Barnum with Jim Dale), I do remember just about every show from Sandy Duncan and a pre-Mr. Belvedere Christopher Hewitt in Peter Pan to Jonathan Pryce and Lea Salonga in Miss Saigon. I’ve seen- to quote Chris Traeger ““literally”” – hundreds of shows. I tell you this because of all the performances I’ve been fortunate to see live on Broadway – from Terrence Mann in Les Miserables to Idina Menzel in Wicked – I can honestly say Neil Patrick Harris delivers one of the top three performances I’ve ever seen on the Great White Way in the Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Who are the other two? Who knows, and who cares. Suck it, um, Colm Wilkinson?
As troubled rocker Hedwig Robinson, Harris wears his heart on his sleeve, and his wigs, and his tights, and whatever else in a revelation of a performance that hits you hard. The revival of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s groundbreaking rock musical is quite easily the best show playing on Broadway right now. It’s a shoo-in for a Best Revival Tony, and Harris himself should snag one for his – say it with me – “legendary” performance. (He already picked up the coveted Drama League award for the role.) But, this isn’t a story about the How I Met Your Mother star. Say what? What. I praise the actor so much to paint you a picture just how good his costar is.
Lena Hall plays Hedwig’s doormat of a significant other and in-the-sidelines bandmate, and crushes it. The actress has appeared in a boatload of Broadway musicals from Tarzan to last year’s Tony Award-winning musicalKinky Boots, but her performance as Hedwig’s long-suffering confidant is a game changer. Not only does she flex her pipes (check out her band The Deafening if your face needs a good melting), but she subtly transforms before our eyes – many times without saying a word – and does the impossible: she steals scenes from Harris.
At a conference room within the Hyatt Time Square , the San Fran native sat down for an A-Sides interview to discuss working with her star co-star, rocking out each night, and the role of her lifetime – one that has rightfully earned her a Best Featured Actress in a Musical Tony nomination. Root for her. It’s infectious not to.
About A-Sides Music
Jon Chattman’s “A-Sides Music” series was established in August 2011 and usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles — just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I’m hoping this is refreshing. Artists have included: fun, Rob Zombie, Pharrell Williams, Courtney Love, American Authors, Imagine Dragons, Gary Clark Jr., and more! A-Sides theme written and performed by Blondfire.