It's not often you have the pleasure of falling in love with a snarky East German transsexual rock star. But, luckily, you may get to do it twice in this lifetime.
John Cameron Mitchell, the El Paso-born writer/director/star of the cult classic stage and screen hit Hedwig and the Angry Inch, told his writer pal Kevin Sessums that he is working on the final draft of a Hedwig sequel set to debut in mid-September.
Finding my fellow "Hed-heads," who recognize the visible show-inspired tattoos I've got permanently marking my membership into a strange club, reminds me all the time how much this heartfelt story of an aspiring rock star with a damaged past has affected a generation of people.
After the initial read-through in a small Provincetown, Mass., theater, Mitchell and his crew will begin production on what will surely elicit an epidemic of nostalgic hysteria in the national theater community that holds a special spot in its heart for Hedwig long after its debut in 1998.
Full disclosure: As a longtime fan, I personally couldn't be happier with this news. Finding my fellow "Hed-heads," who recognize the visible show-inspired tattoos I've got permanently marking my membership into a strange club, reminds me all the time how much this heartfelt story of an aspiring rock star with a damaged past has affected a generation of people.
After the popularity of the stage show and the acclaim given to the film version of Hedwig, it seemed clear that Mitchell could have taken the character into international cult celebrity status, like an Elvira or a RuPaul. But, alas, he got busy and followed his artistic notions elsewhere. Which is fine and good and totally understandable.
But now he's back to finish a story that has been 14 years in the making. In describing his reasons for writing the sequel, Mitchell told Sessums: “We spend so much of our early lives trying to figure out who we really are... And we spend the rest of our lives preparing ourselves to let it go.”
As for the plot line of the sequel, Sessums is just as vague as Hedwig's anatomy. "Let’s just say it’s something that could only happen to Hedwig," he says on his blog. "[A] phantasmagoria with dollops of brutal reality interwoven into its multi-media narrative."
If you've ever seen the original stage version or the cleverly reimagined film version, you know to what Sessums is referring. Both versions plot the impossible struggle of the larger-than-life protagonist through her series of bad decisions, T.M.I. revelations and — most importantly — great costume changes.
Sessums reports that the original show's composer Stephen Trask is also returning to collaborate on this new production as well, so you can look forward to more of his insane mixes of musical styles and genres that made the first show so successful as a rock musical.
I, for one, am ready for the Sequel of Love. Now that I know this show is happening, it's time to pull those ridiculous wigs (or foam facsimiles) down from the shelf and start singing along once more.