Starring Seth Drabinsky, L.A. Lopes. Written by John Cameron Mitchell. Music by Stephen Trask. Directed by Seth Drabinsky, Stephen Low. Drake Underground, to Jan. 27.
Whether he’s really half-man, half–Energizer Bunny, or slipping something illicit into his water, Seth Drabinsky is surely hiding something. That’s the only way to explain the almost paranormal energy he exhibits as the Berlin-born rock star Hedwig, searching for love in the United States after botched gender reassignment surgery. Whatever Drabinsky’s secret, it’s working: He’s served as Hedwig since 2007 and continues to rock the role, backed by a live band and the impressive vocals of L.A. Lopes, who plays Hedwig’s sullen second banana Yitzhak. As both the star and the director, Drabinsky successfully manages bridge the gap between the punk-rock edge of songs like “Angry Inch” and melancholy ballads like “Wicked Little Town.” He pulls off this range of emotions with fabulous ferocity in a show that smashes walls, stereotypes, and categories. As is often the case with such an iconic role, productions of this show are only as badass as their Hedwig, and whatever his secret, Drabinsky really makes the production sing.