What: “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Where: Mark III Taproom
When: 9:30-11:30 p.m. Saturday
Tickets cost $10 and can be bought here.
Seven Ball State students and alumni will bring Broadway to Muncie with a performance of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”
The performance will be at Mark III Taproom in partnership with Cornerstone Center for the Arts.
The show follows Hedwig, a transgender woman who, after fleeing East Berlin, makes a name for herself by forming a band called The Angry Inch.
It’s a show about self-discovery, said Zachary Alan, who plays Hedwig. Alan also plays Dr. Frank N. Furter in Cornerstone’s performances of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
“I think a lot of people go in thinking, ‘I don’t have anything in common with a transgender rock star,’ but this show takes you to so many different levels,” Alan said. “Theater has a certain pretentiousness about it, but this show throws that away. It’s honest.”
Jeff Robinson, director of community relations at Cornerstone, said Alan helped pick “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” as the fundraiser show this year, as well as the venue of Mark III Taproom.
“Almost all of our fundraisers are done at Cornerstone, but from what I know about the show and what I’ve been told, the atmosphere is better at Mark III,” Robinson said.
The money raised from the one-night-only performance will go toward the center’s low-cost education programs and preservation of the building, he said.
This is Alan’s third time performing the show; he also put it on in 2014 at Be Here Now and in 2015 at the Muncie Civic Theatre.
Five of the seven performers have also been in the show before.
“It’s like getting back on the bicycle,” he said. “We started rehearsing on [Feb. 19] because it’s so familiar to a lot of us.”
Even though he’s no stranger to the show, he said he’s still learning new ways to perform it.
“With every show, by the time you get to the last performance, you’ve discovered things you wish you could do differently,” Alan said. “For this performance, we’ve really been focusing on the relationship between Hedwig and her husband and trying to flesh out the characters and make it more realistic.”
The script is also written with parts that tell the actor to improvise. Alan said each space he performs in becomes the setting of the show, and he has the power to “stop” the show and talk to the audience without actually stopping the script.
“Topical jokes from when I did the show in 2014 or 2015 don’t work anymore,” he said. “There’s a new pop culture and political climate, so I have to revise my jokes. I practice some of them just in case I need them, but I mostly rely on what the audience is giving me.”
Another aspect of the show is gender-bending. Hedwig is played by a man, though the character presents as female for most of the show. Her husband is a man, but played by a woman.
Alan said the decision was made by the original composer of the show. On Broadway, Hedwig has been played by Neil Patrick Harris, Taye Diggs, Darren Criss and Andrew Rannells.
“The ‘leading lady’ has a male singing voice, so to balance the harmonies in the music he cast the husband as a woman,” Alan said. “The gender-bending is interesting. I like to see who buys into it and thinks that [Haley Dillon] is actually a guy.”
Everyone in the show, even the tech crew, is affiliated with Ball State. All three of the main actors are Ball State alumni, and The Angry Inch band is made up of an alumnus, a graduate student and two undergraduate students.
The performance of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” will start at 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10 and can be bought online.