Broadway Shockers 2016: Lena Hall Graduates From Yitzhak to Hedwig
Lena Hall burst onto the Broadway scene in a big way when she played Yitzhak opposite Neil Patrick Harris (and later, Andrew Rannells, Michael C. Hall, and John Cameron Mitchell) in the first-ever revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Hall was unknown to many audience members, while others remembered seeing her in shows like Kinky Boots and Cats, when she still went by her given name, Celina Carvajal. But Hall's work in Hedwig was her breakthrough, a scene-stealing performance that proved that great acting doesn't always need words to come across. For her work, she netted a 2015 Tony Award.
But her affair with Hedwig didn’t stop there. Hall finally got the chance to put her stamp on the title role (largely regarded as a man’s role, with the one exception of Ally Sheedy’s turn in the original production) earlier this fall in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
As expected, Hall was fierce as hell. Her double-life as a rocker paid off, bringing an aggressive beauty to Stephen Trask's driving score and finding new levels of depth and sad humor in Mitchell's script.
It was a performance that let her bare it all, literally and figuratively, and the only shame of it is that she only got to play Hedwig eight times. Here's hoping she gets to bring her latest creation to New York in the near future.