Fred Skeleton Theatre Company presents their first musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Creekside Theatre in Lake Country on Oct. 11-13 and Oct. 18-20.
This outrageous and unexpectedly hilarious rock musical tells the story of Hansel Schmidt, a slip of a girly boy from communist East Berlin who — after a botched sex change operation — becomes Hedwig Robinson: “the internationally ignored song stylist barely standing before you.” Kicking off the first stop of her “Last-Minute-Canadian-Tour,” Hedwig (with the help of her band, The Angry Inch) recounts and rocks her way through the journey of her life; a journey over the Wall, from East Berlin to Junction City, Kansas; a journey from man to woman in search of her other half.
The original Off-Broadway production opened in 1998 and recently was remounted on Broadway starring Neil Patrick Harris and Lena Hall. The musical was turned into the cult-classic film of the same title in 2001.
For Fred Skeleton’s upcoming production, artistic director Rob Mason-Brown has teamed up award-winning directors Chantal Ethier and Shannon Mason-Brown to bring this show to life.
“I was nervous because musicals are a beast and this material was so personal to me as an ally to the LGBTQ community,” says Ethier, “but in working through the material, the discovery was simply that this is a universal story. In the end, it’s a story about self-acceptance and self-love with gorgeous imagery.”
Playing the title role of Hedwig is Thomas Fournier. Fournier is a recent graduate of the Ryerson School of Performance’s BFA Acting program, and, though he is now based primarily out of Toronto, the Kelowna local is excited to return to his hometown to don the infamous wig.
“There is an immense responsibility that comes with being the caretaker of a role like this,” says Fournier, “stepping into Hedwig’s shoes is not a comfortable fit. Pain, anger, and loss plague this character and yet somehow, they’re witty and begrudgingly loveable.”
Fournier’s previous performances in the valley have included New Canadian Kid, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged], La Cage Aux Folles, and Brighton Beach Memoires.
Celebrated musician Sammi Morelli takes on the role of Yitzhak, Hedwig’s backup singer, dresser, roadie, and husband. Morelli returned to BC in 2017 after a Canadian Tour and has been busy since performing at the Vancouver Jazz Festival and recently opening for Elise Trouw at the Creekside Theatre. In addition to her music career, local theatre-goers will recognize her from such productions as 9 to 5 and Spamalot.
Rocking onstage with Hedwig is, of course, the Angry Inch. Under the exceptional leadership of musical director and keyboardist Neville Bowman, the band includes Loni Moger on guitar, Stefan Bienz on bass, and Andy Ashley on drums. Local playwright Brandon Shalansky serves as the show’s Dramaturg and has revamped the script to capture the current zeitgeist and fit the show into its run at the Creekside Theatre.
The production features costume design by Jenn Mills; hair, wig, and make-up design by Jessica Langedyk; scenic design by Rob Mason-Brown; lighting design by Vanessa Lomas; and sound mixing by Goran Sukunda. The production team also includes James Long (Stage Manager), Bill Haidei (Set Construction/Assistant Stage Manager), Daniel Honke (Assistant Stage Manager), and Producers Mark Welton and Chantal Ethier.
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at Creekside Theatre. Tickets are $35, $25 students, and are available through kelownatickets.com. This production contains adult themes and language.