I didn't know what to expect last Saturday night. I was at the Belasco Theatre to see Neil Patrick Harris no other reason was necessary. I know Neil fairly well from LA. We performed together in shows for the Magic Castle when he was the President of the Magic Academy. And I would run into him and his family during happy hour at our favorite sushi restaurant on Ventura on occasions.
The show, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." in which Neil was starring was not so familiar to me. I had seen the movie more than a decade ago but hadn't thought about it since. But here I was in New York and this was definitely the hot show starring Tony Award Winner/aquaintance/friend Neil Patrick Harris.
Didn't we all watch Neil Patrick Harris grow up on television? I certainly did.
When he was on Dougie Howser, MD. I said to myself, "Cute kid."
Later when I saw him in the road company of Rent I said to myself, "He sings. Wow. He's got some chops."
When he was cast as Barney on "How I Met Your Mother", I said to myself, "He really is a good comedy actor. Great timing."
As I watched him host Tony/Emmy/Tony Shows, I said to myself, "Geez, he has great connection to the audience and the quick wit of a Stand up Comic. Way to go Neil."
Then last Saturday when I saw him perform Hedwig at the Belasco Theatre, I said to myself, "Muther Fucker... why did he get all the talent."
Although Hedwig is not a one person show, Hedwig delivers 98% of the dialogue in a concert setting where there is no fourth wall. I know a little bit about carrying a 90 minute Broadway show with no intermission. I didn't have to jump around the stage in heels nor sing energetic rock songs but 90 non stop minutes is exhausting. Neil does it in platform heels, over done wigs, jumping on an off an abandoned car hood center stage, while never breaking an over the top character that makes Lady Gaga look Republican. Instead of a matinee on Saturday Neil does a performance at 7:00pm and 10:00 pm. One of his abilities must also be marathon athletics.
For the first few moments one is stunned by the transfomation a familiar actor makes to become a woman. That is very soon forgotten and one becomes engaged in this exotic performer on stage.
There is camp for sure, dick jokes and non-dick jokes to make a San Francisco drag show seem elementary but beyond the obvious, the show makes a compelling statement. Ultimately it makes you question the stereo types of gender and what gender has to do with love? Some of my conservative peers might find it uncomfortable, but even if you don't go for the message of the show, go to see a master showman play a crowd like a concert violin. NPH is a rare talent that can do it all extremely well.... and like Ginger Rogers in high heels.
As you were,