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Theater
 
The Inch Returns…Even Angrier
By David Fetzer

   
 
Pre-Debut Interview:
 
"Hedwig and the
Angry Inch "

Plan-B Theatre Company
(138 W. 300 South)
Nov. 17 to 27, 8 p.m.
except on Sundays at
8 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Buy tickets for $25 via
www.arttix.org.
www.planbtheatrecompany.org
 
   

After two-and-a-half years, Plan-B Theatre Company resurrects its immensely successful rendition of John Cameron Mitchell’s almost-transgender cult hit ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’—this time in a larger auditorium. Local actor David Fetzer got the lowdown about the revival from the company’s fearless leader.

I suppose The Salt Shaker asked me to interview Plan-B’s Producing Director Jerry Rapier (pronounced Ruh-Peer) because they knew I’ve had some experience in theater, and thus would have the insight necessary to decipher the director’s obscure show-biz vernacular.

Well, it was nine in the morning when I showed up at Rapier’s door, and I’ve been getting up around noon these days (because who needs a morning? Honestly?), so if the following interview isn’t thorough enough for you, Mr. and Mrs. Reader, by all means, just go see this play.


The Salt Shaker: I can’t imagine picking something up after two-and-a-half years with only two rehearsals. In my experience, after about the third week that a play has closed, all my lines are like…wooosh. [Gone.]

Jerry Rapier: Well, part of it was that it was just one of those unique experiences where everybody had a great time. Everybody was equally committed from day one to the end of the run, so everything stayed with them, as opposed to trying to push it all away. So yeah, it’s great. Hopefully it sells out. Hopefully it will be a cash cow for our little company.

SS: Is this one of those shows where every performance yields a new surprise?

JR: You know, Aaron [Swenson, in the title role], is really great at improv, but he keeps it in context—he doesn’t overdo it. Because this show could be a train wreck if whoever was playing Hedwig overdid it, but he keeps it pretty tight. It’s really vocally demanding because he sings nine of the 10 songs and he has to wail on most of them…It’s a pretty heavy load to carry, but he does a great job. It’s pretty cool.

SS: So it’s the same cast as two-and-a-half years ago?

JR: Yeah, same cast, same band, same designers…I’ve never said that either, you know, “it’s pretty cool.” I’m usually very unassuming about our work and just let people say what they want, but this show is just fun. There’s no reason not to celebrate what it is. Usually by the time I open something, I can’t watch it anymore because everything about it drives me crazy. But this show, you know, I watch at least a part of every performance. It’s just fun.

SS: Do you think Hedwig might become an annual show for Plan-B?

JR: I don’t know about that. This is the first time we’ve remounted something. It seems to be kind of the thing that people are doing. Like, Pioneer is doing “Beauty and the Beast” again, and the Grand just did “Always Patsy Kline”…

SS: And you can always go to the Nutcracker at Ballet West—

JR: Yeah, or any number of “Christmas Carols,” but our idea was to give people an alternative at the holidays. We have a really short performance run—it’s only 10 days, but there’s 14 performances in those 10 days, and the second week is the week of Thanksgiving, so I know that a lot of people that need a reason to get out of doing something over the holidays. This is about polar opposite of what’s available with these holiday programs, because usually the Christmas shows all open that week.

SS: So you’re going to steal all their audiences away.

JR: Just the people who want something a little less saccharine. [Editor’s note: Not to be confused with the Saccharin section of this magazine.]

SS: Is there a lot of difference between this year’s show and the last show?

JR: We have a few changes. We wanted to preserve basically what the show was two-and-a-half years ago, because that’s what people wanted to see and we were very proud and happy with the way it turned out. But now that Aaron and Jeannette [Puhich] are a little more comfortable, we can explore some things we didn’t get to explore before, and the set is a little different and there might be a surprise or two at the end…who knows?

david[at]saltshakermagazine.com

 

 
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