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Andrew Rannells on Stepping into Broadway’s Highest Heels in ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch:’ INTERVIEW

HEDWIG key art NO-TEXT

BY NAVEEN KUMAR

Tony nominated in 2011 for his turn as an eagerly pious missionary in The Book of Mormon, Andrew Rannells returns to Broadway this week playing the glam-rock trans goddess in Hedwig and the Angry Inch for an eight-week run. Earlier this summer, the cult 1998 musical brought home Tony Awards for Best Revival and for performances by Lena Hall and Neil Patrick Harris, whom Rannells replaces in the show.

From his breakout role on Broadway, Rannells, 35, jumped quickly into TV with a recurring role on Girls, where he plays Lena Dunham’s now gay ex-boyfriend. He also went on to star as a young gay dad in Ryan Murphy’s series The New Normal, which ran for one season on NBC.

AR - hedwig1With his career taking off, the star returns to the stage in a role he’s been primed to play since he was a college student in Manhattan. I talked to the actor about his history with Hedwig, his jump to the screen, and Anne Hathaway’s best advice to him for walking in heels.

Naveen Kumar: Your last role on Broadway had you all buttoned up, so this time’s a little different…

Andrew Rannells: [Laughs] Yes! Yes it is.

NK: Are we watching a drag pro or a novice? Tell me about your history with heels—because they are sky high in this show.

AR: Well, I did a production of Hedwig in 2002 in Austin, Texas, at a theatre called the ZACH Theatre. It’s been a long time. This is obviously a very slick production, and there are things that I don’t have to worry about, like in Austin I had to do my own makeup and put on my own wig. On Broadway, there’s a whole staff of amazing designers who do that for you, which takes a lot of the stress away. I just have to show up! So that’s very nice.

The show itself, weirdly even though it was 12 years ago, I still remembered big pieces of it. Songs are a little bit easier to remember, but I was really surprised by the chunks of the script that I remembered, somewhere lodged in the back of my brain.

NK: So, jumping around in heels: not a big deal?

AR: One of the first things they did was give me a pair of rehearsal heels, and I was a little nervous about it because they were like 5-inch high heels.

I had just stared working on the Nancy Myers movie The Intern this summer in New York, and all of my scenes were with Anne Hathaway. I was telling her about it and she said, “You know what? Just don’t think about it. Women don’t think about it. They just put them on and do it.” That was her big advice and it was actually very helpful, because I just thought, I’m not going to stress about this, I’m just going to put them on and see what happens. Knock on wood: I have not fallen yet.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Andrew Rannells on Stepping into Broadway’s Highest Heels in ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch:’ INTERVIEW" »


Andrew Rannells Talks to Jimmy Fallon About Taking Over as Hedwig on Broadway: VIDEO

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Andrew Rannells, who is set to take over as East German transgender rock star Hedwig in the Tony Award-winning Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway for a limited 8-week run, sat down with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show on Wednesday night.

Rannells, who is a Broadway veteran having performed in Book of Mormon, Hairspray and Jersey Boys, expressed excitement at taking over the lead role from Neil Patrick Harris. Rannells tells Fallon that he has already performed as Hedwig in an unrelated 2002 production in Austin Texas.

Rannells also talks about perfecting an East German accent for the role, and notes that while that's not going so well, he is becoming good at an Australian accent, particularly if he is required to say the name 'Jennifer Lopez'.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

In other news, Harris is counting the days he has left in Hedwig down on his glittered fingernails.

Wrote Harris on Instagram:

Continue reading "Andrew Rannells Talks to Jimmy Fallon About Taking Over as Hedwig on Broadway: VIDEO" »


Watch Hedwig's Husband Transform From Female-To-Male: VIDEO

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Drag Queens and other male-to-female performers typically get all the love. But Lena Hall — the actress portraying Yitzhak the gender-bent love interest on Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch — deserves a hand as well for her Tony award-winning transformation from a high-voiced American woman to a deep-voiced European man.

So far Hall has acted alongside Neil Patrick Harris' Hedwig (she even strummed along during NPH during his awards-show performance of “Sugar Daddy”). But starting in August, she’ll play next to Andrew Rannells as he takes over the musical’s titular role.

Watch her transformation AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "Watch Hedwig's Husband Transform From Female-To-Male: VIDEO" »


First Look: Andrew Rannells as Hedwig

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Andrew Rannells is set to take over for Neil Patrick Harris next month as Hedwig in the Broadway hit Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Here's a first look at Rannells as the East German transgender rock star.


'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' Turns Profit on Broadway

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Smash hit Tony winner Hedwig and the Angry Inch has turned a profit, the NYT reports:

The producers announced on Tuesday that “Hedwig,” a concertlike show about a transgender rock musician from East Berlin, had recouped its capitalization, which was about $5 million, according to investment papers. The show has elevated Mr. Harris (best known from CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother”) into Broadway’s newest box office star: The average paid admission to “Hedwig” last week was $148.66, the fourth-highest on Broadway, and the show managed to recoup swiftly even though it’s only holding seven performances a week, instead of the usual eight, because of the score’s demands on Mr. Harris.

Book of Mormon and Girls actor Andrew Rannells is set to take over as Hedwig after Harris ends his run on August 17.


Check out a Pre-Broadway Photographic History of Hedwig in NYC

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Showing now at Artsee Battery Park at 220 Murray Street in NYC is a pre-Broadway history of Hedwig and the Angry Inch featuring a ton of photographs by Mark Tusk from the early productions in which creator John Cameron Mitchell donned Hedwig's ("it's pronounced hedVig") famous wig and tassels.

Check it out through August 5.

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