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Glee's Darren Criss debuts as Hedwig tonight

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

Glee star Darren Criss debuts as the next leading lady of Broadway's rock musical comedy Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Belasco Theatre tonight. He is set to play a limited engagement in the title role through to 19 July 2015. Criss joins Rebecca Naomi Jones who continues in the role of Yitzhak.

Composer and lyricist Stephen Trask previously released the following statement:

"The first time I saw Darren I knew he was a game changer. He's that good. Then, when we hung out it was like we were old friends. I'm excited to spend the next few months making the show and getting to know each other better. I'm happy that Hedwig can be Darren's next stop on his way to world domination."
Darren Criss last appeared on the Great White Way as J. Pierrepont Finch in 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying' at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in 2012. He is probably best known for his recurring TV role as Blaine Anderson in Fox's long-running musical series 'Glee.' Other screen credits include 'Girl Most Likely,' 'The Chicago 8,' 'Little White Lie,' 'Eastwick,' and 'Web Therapy.'

Hedwig and the Angry Inch opened at the Belasco Theatre on 22 April 2014, following previews from 29 March, and is currently booking through to 9 August 2015. It is directed by Tony Award-winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening), with choreography by Spencer Liff ("So You Think You Can Dance").

The production took home last year's Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical and has seen increased demand for tickets since the telecast, which saw Neil Patrick Harris take home his first Tony Award for his portrayal of transgender Hedwig. Lena Hall also took home the award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

The show opened to excellent reviews, with critics praising the show, party due to Patrick Harris' central performance: "Shamelessly enjoyable show. ... one of the few unqualified pleasures of this Broadway spring" (NYTimes); "Frisky, unapologetically raunchy fable of love, loss, fury and freedom" (NY Daily News).

Hedwig and the Angry Inch tells the story of an "internationally ignored' rock singer, Hedwig (Harris), and her search for stardom and love. Born a boy named Hansel whose life's dream is to find his other half, Hedwig reluctantly submits to a sex change operation in order to marry an American G.I. and get over the Berlin Wall to freedom. The operation is botched, leaving her with the aforementioned 'angry inch.'"

The musical comedy began off-off-Broadway at Westbeth and then ran over two years at the Jane Street Theatre beginning in Feb 1998. The musical won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical and both John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask won Obies. Rolling Stone called it "the Best Rock Musical Ever" in 2001. It won a 1998 New York Magazine Award and Entertainment Weekly's "Soundtrack of the Year" Award. Time Magazine named Hedwig and the Angry Inch the Top Musical of 1998.

The film of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, directed by John Cameron Mitchell, won the Audience Award and Best Director Awards at Sundance. John Cameron Mitchell won the Best New Director from the National Board of Review, the Gotham Awards, and the LA Critics Society.

- by Tom Millward

Darren Criss

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