Andrew Rannells replaces Neil Patrick Harris in the lead role of Hedwig and the Angry Inch tonight (August 20th) through October 12th. Harris won a Tony for his portrait of the “girlyboy from communist East Berlin” (in the words of the rock musical) who became “the internationally ignored song stylist barely standing before you.”
“I love that Hedwig is so strong but also so vulnerable,” Rannells has said, “and I love that she is so funny but also so hurt and sensitive. I just love all her contradictions.”
Rannells, a native of Nebraska who will celebrate his 36th birthday on August 23rd, broke into Broadway at 28 as the replacement for slick dj Link Larkin in “Hairspray,” went on to portray Bob Gaudio in “Jersey Boys,” but really made his mark in 2011 originating the role of Elder Price in “The Book of Mormon,” a performance that snagged him a Tony nomination.
Lena Dunham attended the opening night of Mormon, and cast him as Elijah, Hannah’s bisexual ex-boyfriend in “Girls,” a part he continues to play. He was also cast in “The New Normal” as Bryan, one-half a gay couple who have decided to have a child, a TV series that was canceled after a single season.
If in taking on Hedwig, Rannells may struck some as trying on a completely different character from the ones he’s done in the past, the truth is, he’s already portrayed Hedwig – in a production in Austin in 2002.
Here is Andrew Rannells performing I Believe from the Book of Mormon on the 2011 Tony Awards broadcast
Here is Andrew Rannells performing with Neil Patrick Harris in the 2013 Tony Awards broadcast (along with Megan Hilty and Laura Benanti)