Savannah, Hedwig has landed.
The Bay Street Theatre at Club One is featuring “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Sept. 25 to 26 at 8 p.m. with a Sunday matinee on Sept. 27 at 3 p.m.
“Hedwig” is a cabaret-meets-rock-opera performance about Hedwig née Hansel, an East Berlin boy who, on the promise of a move to America, suffers a botched sex change operation.
Hedwig then meets, falls in love with and collaborates musically with Johnny Speck, a teenager who leaves her and becomes the rocker Johnny Gnosis.
The Angry Inch, Hedwig’s band, tours dive bars and unsavory venues as she flounders emotionally.
The show ranges from goofy fun to poignant heartbreak. Hedwig’s relationship with Johnny Gnosis and her current husband, Yitzhak, provides a glimpse into the transgendered struggle for acceptance without ever becoming preachy or piteous.
The rage showcased in songs like “Angry Inch” and “Exquisite Corpse” counters the grinning school-girl atmosphere of “Sugar Daddy.” The show switches back and forth between emotions with nearly bipolar speed, but manages to balance it all with unifying performances and stage work.
Hedwig’s song of personal declaration, “Wig in a Box” is the focal point of the show. It brings together the anger, sorrow, kitschy humor and heartbreak in a startling and seamless way.
Hedwig, portrayed by Christopher Blair, is a fusion of vulnerability and bravado. Blair effortlessly brings the “little slip of a girlyboy” into her own, blending a typical cabaret style with urbane jokes about the horrors of Communism.
Yitzhak refuses to play second fiddle to the tall blonde German. Valerie America Lavelle brings her powerful voice and commanding stage presence to the role of the “Last Jewess of the Balkans.” Lavelle is charming as she portrays the show’s conscience and scapegoat.
The costumes, styling and staging bring the viewer in, making the world more tangible and concrete. Hedwig’s trademark wig is beautifully and satirically rendered.
“Hedwig” is a chance rarely given to Savannah theatergoers. It provides an opportunity to view another world, but one that parallels our own. The voice of the musical is distinct and intoxicating.
Tickets cost $15. The show is 21 and over, but Sunday night’s performance will be open to those age 18 and up.
The Bay Street Theatre
1 Jefferson St.
Savannah, GA 31401
Contact Leah Perdue