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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" »


Oh Hell No!: David Mixner to Perform Benefit Stage Show in NYC

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LGBT and civil rights activist, author, storyteller, and Towleroad contributor David Mixner will debut a new one-night only one-man show on October 27 at 7 pm at New World Stages in New York City to benefit The Point Foundation, an organization which assists LGBTQ students in achieving their academic and leadership potential.

Mixner's new show, Oh Hell No!, will take as its starting point "personal and public details of his headline-grabbing and history-shaping life" and be accompanied musically by Chris Bolan, Megan Osterhaus, and Tim Jerome.

Event chairs for the evening include Alan Cumming, Robert Desiderio, Herb Hamsher, Judith Light, Ken Mehlman, Rob Smith, Jonathan Stoller, Jorge Valencia, and Edie Windsor. For information on tickets, including Premium Seating with special access to the post-performance VIP reception at Glass House Tavern, please contact Drew Rhodes at (212) 512-5785 or drew@pointfoundation.org.

Photo by Nigel Barker.


New Musical ‘Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story’ Opens Off Broadway: REVIEW

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BY NAVEEN KUMAR

No one can claim a shortage of Broadway musicals about Brill Building artists who became household names—between them, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Jersey Boys) and Carole King (Beautiful) have the Baby Boomer market cornered—so it seems fitting that Piece of My Heart, an engaging and surprisingly sexy new musical about lesser-known chart-topping songwriter Bert Berns, opened on a more modest scale Off Broadway Monday, at the Pershing Square Signature Center.

Piece2Writer of ubiquitous ‘60s hits like “Twist and Shout” and “Cry Baby,” Berns didn’t attain the notoriety of some of his peers, perhaps due to his early death from a heart condition at age 38. With two of his children as lead producers, the new musical tells the story of Berns’ career and his surviving family’s conflict over promoting his legacy.

Berns’ daughter Jessie (Leslie Kritzer) is called to New York City by her dad’s old friend and manager Wazzel (Joseph Siravo), warning her that Berns’ catalogue is in danger of being sold off for a lump sum by her mother (Linda Hart). Predictably, in dad’s Brill Building office, Jessie discovers who her father really was, herself by extension, and finally confronts her mother.

Piece4While its underlying plot is only slightly more original than the E! True Hollywood Story blueprint of its Broadway predecessors, Daniel Goldfarb’s book steers the show, rather than taking a backseat to showcasing the songwriter's hits. Instead of a litany of studio sessions or live performances, Berns’ songs are, for the most part, integrated into the musical’s several love stories. And because much of his music is about different stages of love, the formula works quite well.

Playing a relatively unknown, behind-the-scenes artist is a different kind of challenge from playing an icon, and Zak Resnick’s pitch perfect performance proves he has the makings of a star himself. His voice is both sweet and strong, and he manages to bring a modern sort of sex appeal to Berns that’s rare and refreshing to see in a jukebox musical.

Piece3Director-choreographer Denis Jones hints toward the decade of sexual excitement the songs portend, rather than their author’s achy-breaky heart—to fine affect. While dance numbers pay homage to the decade’s musical mix of styles, Jones forgoes nostalgia for originality and brings a carnal energy to songs otherwise known for being saccharine, if not exactly chaste.

Unlike most artists who die young, Berns knows his heart condition will lead to an early death, fueling his drive to succeed. His story (despite being true) is a potential minefield of clichés that the production for the most part successfully avoids. Maybe because its producers have their father’s legacy as their primary concern, Piece of My Heart stays focused on telling Berns’ story and making his songs sound their best, rather than pleasing the crowd—though it does that, too.  

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Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos:jenny anderson)


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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