Rock out with ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’

Rock out with ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’

Kevin Broccoli plays the lead role in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” presented Jan 18-28 at Academy Players, 180 Button Hole Drive, Providence.

PROVIDENCE – According to Kevin Broccoli, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” is considered a musical, but “it’s really more of a play with rock music.”

Broccoli, a staple of the Rhode Island theater scene, will star as Hedwig when the show opens at Academy Players in Providence on Friday, Jan. 18.

“Hedwig is from Communist East Berlin,” Broccoli says. “And after a botched sex-change operation, she makes her way to America, where she falls in love and subsequently ends up embroiled in a scandal. There’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s the gist of it.”

The show ran for about a year on Broadway, and won several awards, including a Tony and a Drama Desk Award. Neil Patrick Harris won a Best Leading Actor Tony for playing Hedwig.

When one thinks of Kevin Broccoli, musicals don’t leap to mind. His own Epic Theater Company is known for producing straight plays mostly.

“Believe it or not, the only shows I did were musicals until around the time I started my theater company. I’m known for being a big personality, and people never thought I could tone it down enough to be in a play, so it’s kind of interesting to come full circle and have people say, ‘So musicals aren’t really your thing, huh?’”

Ted Clement is directing the show. He was asked what it was like directing someone such as Broccoli, who typically spends his time directing others.

“Kevin is a wonderful actor to direct,” says Clement. “He listens closely, takes notes well, is generous with his colleagues on stage, and shows respect to his director. I’ve really appreciated his attentiveness in our discourse, and his willingness to be directed.”

“Ted’s been very open to some of the ideas I had going in,” adds Broccoli, “and he creates a very communal space where everybody is free to contribute and add something to the piece, which has made the experience really wonderful.”

Besides, Broccoli says he loathes directing. “Producing, great. Directing, not so much. It’s wonderful to let somebody else worry about all the puzzle pieces and just show up to perform.”

Both Broccoli and Clement are enjoying the rehearsal process immensely.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be part of a team for this show,” says Broccoli, “and that’s been a huge relief.” He says the production team has “brought in the best of the best in terms of collaborators, and that’s made the process so much better.”

Clement likes the energy in the room.

“The positive energy between the cast and crew has been remarkable. Each rehearsal has been full of life and laughs. It’s infectious. It will be evident in the production.”

Clement’s only regret is not being in the show himself.

“Seriously. I’ll be singing every song in the back of the room every night of the run.”

So, what’s the one-sentence pitch each is giving to friends to convince them to come see the show?

“It seriously rocks,” says Clement.

“Kevin Broccoli in heels,” Broccoli responds, which is probably worth the price of admission on its own.

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” runs Jan. 18-28 at Academy Players, 180 Button Hole Drive, Providence. For tickets, information and directions, visit www.academyplayersri.org .