John Cameron Mitchell, the creator of the queer cult classic Hedwig and the Angry Inch, will perform a special show in Brisbane next month.
In The Origin of Love: The Stories and Songs of Hedwig, Mitchell will take to the stage to channel the titular glam-rock icon to perform much-loved rock ballads and share stories from the musical’s 20-year history.
Initially conceived and created by Mitchell as a drag show in New York City, Hedwig and the Angry Inch evolved into a Broadway production that scored rave reviews and has amassed a cult following.
The Origin Of Love stage show will be a tribute to the Hedwig musical’s journey, but Mitchell told TimeOut it will stand alone as its own concert.
“It’s going to be a free-form party centering on the making of Hedwig, but loose enough that anything can happen,” he said.
“If the play was in the form of a rock show, this will actually be a rock show.
“You can see things in people’s eyes when they listen to [the songs] – certain things in a song mean different things to them, and that feeds your performance as well.”
Both the Hedwig stage musical and the 2001 film adaptation tell the story of a genderqueer singer who undergoes gender reassignment surgery in East Berlin in the 1980s and finds redemption in punk and glam rock music.
“Hedwig doesn’t really identify as trans because she was forced into it,” Mitchell told TimeOut.
“But she’s on the spectrum. She might’ve been a ‘they’ today; who knows? It’s a situation where somebody was mutilated, in a way, by the powers that be and the patriarchy, and found a new identity through art.”
Watch the origin of love – Hedwig and the angry inch
Mitchell said that any actor can play Hedwig, because he considers the character to be a symbol of refusing to fit into any particular box.
“To me, the role-playing is inherent in queerness. Queer means you’re aware of roles and gender, and realise that otherness in gender can be liberating,” he said.
“It can also heal wounds… So much of the ills of the world is people trying to be what a man is supposed to be or what a woman is supposed to be, when everyone has all kinds of energies in them.”
Mitchell will perform The Origin of Love for one night only in four Australian capital cities: Adelaide on June 22, Sydney on July 6, Melbourne on July 10, and Brisbane on July 17.
Tickets to the Brisbane show at QPAC are available from the website here.