Filed in this "new" category was Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Hedwig is a fantastic show; I've known the soundtrack by heart for years. The director of this current production wanted the show to be as interactive as possible, including but not limited to: having the theatre's bar practically on the stage. Hedwig runs 90+ minutes with no intermission, so there's not a good place for people to get drinks. Plus, the setting of Hedwig is a dive bar, so the director decided he wanted to have a bartender "in character," so to speak, for the run of the show. Enter Leonard.
It's been a lot of fun and a lot of work. My bartending instincts are all about the work: go, go, go! Pour those drinks, get that cash, who's next in line? Move along, people, I ain't got all night! The director said I could be a surly and rude bartender, so basically this was just me. Bartending. Exactly how I was when I was a bartender (my Unit can attest).
My actor instincts were at war with the bartending ones: STFU, people, Hedwig is acting! Why are you so loud during this intense, quiet part of the show?? Fuck, ice cubes are loud! Get out of my way, patrons, I have to do acting things right now.
So yeah, a lot of work, especially on sold-out nights. And trying to explain what I do in this show since I'm not in this show is also a treat. But one of my favorite things, other than enjoying the rocking performances each night (whilst slinging drinks), has been the random shit people have said or done during this very unique show each night. So here are The Hedwig Diaries:
The six people each night who ask "Is that supposed to be smoking?" (The smoke machine is built into the bar; Leonard gets to push the button during "Angry Inch" each night.) First I tried being polite: "Yes, but thank you for noticing."
Then I started to get annoyed: "Yes. It's fine. It's supposed to do that."
And finally, sassy: "Something's smoking? Oh, it's just me."
Patron (trying to find a seat before the show): "Has anyone said yet that you're distracting?"
Me (with a shit-eating grin): "Only in the best possible way."
Patron (after the show): "You were great! I could tell you were a woman from the beginning."
Me: "Thank you...?"
Patron ordering a drink: "I want a screwdriver. Don't forget the screw!"
Me (after pouring drink): "A screwdriver with extra screw," and I flipped him off while handing him his drink.
Patron ordering a drink: "Do you have any fruit?"
Me: "There's tons of fruit here. Look around. For drinks, though, I only have lime."
Drunk Patron in the lobby (with show still happening): "Oh, Firecrotch1, you're awesome!"
Me: "Thank you."
Drunk Patron: "This is so much fun! Are you always with them?"
Me; "I do work often with this theatre, yes."
DP: "No, but I mean, do you travel around with Hedwig and the band and stuff?"
Me: (beat) "They're all local actors who auditioned for this show and were cast."
DP: "You mean this isn't a traveling show??"
Me: "No, we're all local."
DP: "Oh wow! I'm a bit drunk."
Me: "I know."
DP: "And I love you!" (hugs me and stumbles back to her seat)
It was one for the record books, doing everything from pouring drinks, headbanging to "Angry Inch," catching flying shoes, and trying not to ruin my make-up during "Midnight Radio."
No, YOU'RE crying!
I'm sorry if you missed it.
1What Hedwig deigned to call me. Yes, really.
|NPH as Hedwig performing "Surgar Daddy"|
(At the 2014 Tonys, not Leonard's production)