Hedwig and the Angry Itch

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Actors Express
through August 19, 2023
Move over Rocky Horror Show, Hedwig is back at Actor’s Express again and still rocks the house which is transformed into a real life cabaret bar-stage..   This one is not your grandma’s play.  It’s more like a voyage into a strange new and very loud world.
The show revolves around the life story of Hedwig a trans-sexual entertainer from East Berlin and his/her journey of exploration and self discovery.   Niko Carleo or Christina Leidel take the stage as Hedwig, depending on the date of performance.  Hedwig is on stage throughout the show and with the exception of a few squeals and yells from other cast members this is a musical monologue set to hard rock music.
At first I wasn’t certain if the audience was singing along, or if the music were just bouncing off the hard walls of the theater.    I think it more likely the latter.    This is an uniquely staged performance wherein the theater space is transformed as said, and if you ever made it to some of those places in Berlin you know how they work.   The performers work the audience so well and you can actually have drinks from the bar in the setting.
Hedwig isn’t quite the glam queen you may be used to seeing in drag shows in that nobody is going to drool over this one.   But, if you can suspend your sense of reason for a bit and watch and listen to her story it starts to weave together.
The show is an outgrowth of a club act which started  years ago in New York, and since then has become a full blown production and a film version was released.   The work has played in many cities in America and around the world to extraordinarily enthusiastic audiences.  Directed by Quinn Xavier Hernandez with Clara Pysczynski as Hedwig’s BFF, Yitzhak and a four piece band on stage, they work through 11 numbers in a little more than an hour and a half as the tale unfolds.
No it ain’t for kiddies, either.  But, if this is your bill of fare, and  head off to Actors Express while you still have time to experience something different.  It not quite the same as when they brought the show to town 20 years ago; but the story is the same.  More info and tickets at Actors-Express.com

The House that Will Not Stand

The House that Will Not Stand
Horizon Theatre
through August 6, 2023

This is one very deep story brought to stage by Marcus Gardley, who also has done the new script for the musical film, The Color Purple. This one did win an OBIE in 2019. Gardley’s opus, directed by Thomas W. Jones, II is set in NOLA back in 1813, a decade after it became part of the USA.

If you have read of some of the tales from Louisiana, then you may recall that prior to the war between the states, and the 14th Amendment, the territory had black people who were slaves and also those who had become free men and women. While interracial marriage was prohibited by law, there were often situations in which a well-off white man might take in a black woman, referred to as a placée. It was not deemed a marriage but the man usually provided a house for the woman, and most likely life estate.

The men would go after the women at some old time disco balls called quadroons, and it was the women who dressed to the nines and coyly attracted their attention. This play runs about 2.5 hours with one intermission. It is not one the kiddies would figure out. The cast consists of six live players and one dead prop dummy. Beatrice (Donna Briscoe) is a grieving widow who has three daughters, and insists on running their lives. Her just dead husband’s placée wants to have her life back. She’s played by Alia Shakira.

Nothing goes easy. Is he really dead, or speaking out from beyond? Can the daughters really attract the right guy, when they are supposed to be in 6 months of mourning? The cast and crew will pull you through a lot of angst and dread; but then it may just be a chapter of true life. After all, New Orleans has always had an unique environment, population and life style.

This show runs Wednesday to Saturday 1t 8pm, with sold out matinees on Saturday at 3pm and Sunday at 5pm. For tickets just go to HorizonTheatre.com, and then head down to Little Five Points.