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Hedwig And The Angry Inch album release party re-cap

Atlantic Records Website
Feb 18, 1999

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Among Rock 'n' Rolls most magical properties is its ability to simultaneously exist as both a populist device and an agent of renegade individualism. Last night's Hedwig And The Angry Inch album release party at New York's Bowery Ballroom was both a testament and a tribute to that remarkable paradox.

Michael Cerveris and John Cameron Mitchell (left)

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Watching the eclectic-to-the-point-of-parody crowd wait in small, impatient cliques as the roadies were setting up and sound checking, I'd have laughed if you told me that in a few minutes, we would all be swaying, singing, and sweating together like the front row of an N'Sync concert. Of course, I hadn't counted on original cast member and Hedwig co-creator John Cameron Mitchell's keen understanding of Rock 'n' Roll ritual -- but after scorching renditions of "Tear Me Down" and "Random Number Generation" which included roaring call and response, jumping manuevers which rivaled those of Diamond David Lee Roth in his heyday, and the most exciting and inevitable stage dive this scribe (who is generally opposed to the phenomenon) has ever witnessed -- I was, as the poets say, a believer!

John Cameron Mitchell and Joan Jett (right)

h-atl5.jpg (23799 bytes)And after that, well, that's when it really got good. Special guest star and rock god Joan Jett joined the band for "Angry Inch," and led them through a truly inspired "Do You Wanna Touch Me" -- yeah..yeah-yeah...yeah-yeah (!!!) -- and Michael Cerveris, who has taken Michell's place as Hedwig, joined the band for the remainder of the set, which ended with lump-in-your-throat sing along versions of "Midnight Radio" and "Wig in a Box."

Michael Cerveris, Joan Jett, John Cameron Mitchell, Stephen Trask, Miriam Shor, Scott Bilbrey, Dave McKinley (left)

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In short, the event was the most transcendental Rock 'n' Roll sermon I've seen in a long, long time, and from someone who saw Ozzy Osbourne moon a crowd amidst a blaze of pyrotechnics only weeks ago, that's no small praise. The "Hedwig And The Angry Inch" Original Cast Recording is available in stores now, and the theatrical production continues at the Jane Street Theatre.

John Cameron Mitchell and Joan Jett (right)

Amazing Journey - Official Web Archive for Michael Cerveris
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