Hedwig and the Angry Inch might sound like a bad, adult parody of Harry Potter, but this musical by John Cameron Mitchell is very far from that. Hedwig is a gay man from East Berlin struggling to make it in America and falls in love along the way. The Angry Inch is his band that throughout messes with Hedwig and pumps him up. Originally starring John Cameron Mitchell in 1998, the role of Hedwig has since been taken by Neil Patrick Harris, Andrew Rannells and Taye Diggs on Broadway, but at the Pantages Theater the leading role is taken up by Glee alum Darren Criss. Criss is returning to this role after starring in it on Broadway during the summer of 2015. The supporting role is played by Lena Hall who won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for the 2014 reprise of it. With its long history and big names Hedwig and the Angry Inch makes noise wherever it goes and Los Angeles is no exception.
The hour-and-half long musical is unconventional and may be an acquired taste, but does not fail to entertain even on the worst of nights. With eleven songs and a lot of fourth wall breaking Darren Criss takes command of the stage in platform heels and over the top hair and makeup. He plays the highly emotional Hedwig as vulnerable but confident. Criss draws in the audience by conveying a heartfelt and real character that grows throughout the play. Lena Hall as Yitzhak is beautiful. She doesn’t take away from the spotlight but controls the stage and the audience's emotion in a way that Hedwig and Darren Criss cannot. As amazing as the musical is, it should be noted that it is crude and vulgar at times, and if you are not a part of or around musicals, there will be jokes and parts that may not be funny or go over your head. But, if you want to see something that is amazing and weird, Hedwig and the Angry Inch with Darren Criss and Lena Hall plays at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles through November 27.