John Cameron Mitchell is returning to the stage as Hedwig. I’d heard rumors but nearly peed my pants when I saw the announcement yesterday. Yes, I already spent this year’s discretionary income to go to NYC and see Neil Patrick Harris as Hedwig, but I’ve bought tickets to go again February 2015. I can’t miss this. And I can’t explain it easily, but seeing JCM in the role, live, finally, feels incredibly important to me.
In 2001 when the movie came out I was aware of the theatrical production, but not really aware of JCM yet, as I lived on the other side of the country and just the idea of going to NYC was barely realized. I was 28, already married to a man, divorced from him, and dating women. Through high school I had mostly dated men, not entirely, but close, I didn’t really come out until I was getting divorced. But Hedwig and the Angry Inch was something different for me, it was literally the first time I can remember sexualizing male bodies. Having sex with men is one thing (expected of you if you’re born female and presumed straight, really), sexualizing men is entirely different. Ironic, really, that it was John Cameron Mitchell as Hedwig that really turned my eye to men. Hedwig is important to me for a lot of reason, as it is, I’m certain, to hundreds of thousands of people the world over, but more than just the show, the take away from it, what it represents, is this feeling of recognizing something in myself, about myself. This weird part of my brain always whispers that my sexuality is John Cameron Mitchell. Not gay, or bi, or queer (how I usually identify) but just JCM. I know, it sounds crazy, but back to New York I go, regardless of expense, of whatever I have to sacrifice to get there.
I was entirely emotionally overwhelmed watching Neil Patrick Harris perform as Hedwig last summer. If my companion, Punny, had tried to speak to me during the show I probably would have burst into tears. I had so many emotions simmering so close to the surface. For days afterwards I felt like my heart was swollen with joy, like falling in love. I don’t know what to expect from JCM. I do know I have to be there. Friends are flying to NYC from all over the country to see it with me that day, because Hedwig is as important to them as it is to me. Hedwig has changed my life twice already. Hopefully the third time is even more charmed.