Available on CD July 1st, the third HEDWIG CD Atlantic has released since the original production in 1999 (followed by the film soundtrack) and whether you like it or not, now the Original Broadway Cast Recording… We think Neil Patrick Harris is turning in a REAL Hedwig. He has immersed himself in the role and is most deserving of the Best Actor In A Leading Role In A Musical Antoinette Perry Award. Go Neil Go!
1. America The Beautiful
2. Tear Me Down
3. The Origin Of Love
5. Sugar Daddy
6. When Love Explodes (Love Theme from Hurt Locker The Musical) (A particularly splendid addition to this production!)
7. Angry Inch
8. Wig In A Box
9. Wicked Little Town
10. The Long Grift
11. Hedwig’s Lament
12. Exquisite Corpse
13. Wicked Little Town (Reprise)
14. Midnight Radio
Hedwig And The Angry Inch Original Broadway Cast Recording, the musical companion to the four-time TONY-winning (HEDWIG won Best Revival of a Musical and Best Lighting in a Musical, and Lena Hall won Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her divine portrayal of Yitzhak) show stars Neil Patrick Harris. The CD release comes fifteen years after Atlantic released the cast recording for the original production in 1999 and thirteen years following Atlantic’s release of the original motion picture soundtrack for the film incarnation.
The album is produced by Hedwig composer Stephen Trask, Tony Award nominated sound designer and platinum-selling record producer Tim O Heir, and the production’s music director Justin Craig. The album is executive produced by Elie Landau and David Binder.
In addition to Tony Award winners Neil Patrick Harris and Lena Hall, the album also features: Justin Craig (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Matt Duncan (bass, vocals), Tim Mislock (guitar, vocals), and Peter Yanowitz (drums, vocals).
Neil Patrick Harris return to Broadway in the 2014 production, the musical with book by John Cameron Mitchell and music and lyrics by Stephen Trask, directed by Michael Mayer is nominated for eight Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival. The limited engagement, featuring Lena Hall (Kinky Boots), opened in April to rave reviews at the Belasco Theatre (111 West 44th Street).
Neil Patrick Harris is adding another credit or two to his resume: Broadway recording artist and now Tony Award winner for Best Actor in a Musical. The Tony-winning actor and former How I Met Your Mother star will be featured on the original cast album for the Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, in which Harris plays the title character, an East German transgender lamenting her botched sex change.
Atlantic Records will release the recording on CD July 15, with composer Stephen Trask, the production’s Tony-nominated sound designer and multiplatinum record producer Tim O’Heir and music director Justin Craig producing. Lena Hall, who is now a Tony winner for playing Hedwig’s husband Yitzhak, will also be featured on this recording. Craig, Matt Duncan, Tim Mislock and Peter Yanowitz, who comprise the production’s onstage band Tits of Clay, will also appear on the album. The show’s producer David Binder and Elie Landau will executive produce. Atlantic also released the show’s original Off-Broadway cast recording in 1999, which featured John Cameron Mitchell, the show’s book writer and original title star, and the soundtrack for the 2001 film, also featuring Mitchell and Miriam Shor, who played Yitzhak.
“Anyone who has spent more than five minutes with me in the last three months knows how excited I am by the new versions of these songs,” Trask says in a statement, calling Tits of Clay an “amazing f—ing band” and adding that these recordings are the culmination of collaborating with Craig and O’Heir for years on other projects as well as Hedwig and reworking these songs for Broadway. “If any band wants to learn any of these songs, these are the versions they should study.”
The record doesn’t mark Harris’ first time recording, however. When he guest-starred on Glee, for which he won an Emmy Award, he recorded a cover of Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” with Matthew Morrison, and he also appeared on the cast recording for the 2004 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins. He also was a replacement Emcee in the revival of Cabaret on Broadway in 2003.
In addition to producing albums with Trask, O’Heir has also worked with the All-American Rejects, the Flaming Lips and Say Anything, among many other artists.
Hedwig opened at the Belasco Theatre on April 22 and is nominated for eight Tony awards, including best revival and best director for Michael Mayer. The show originally premiered at the Westbeth Theater in 1997 and transferred to the Jane Street Theater in 1998, both also produced by Binder.
The album will be available at physical retailers starting July 1st. Trask expressed his enthusiasm for the show’s new takes on his songs, “The talents of Neil and Lena and this amazing f—ing band have made these the best version of the score ever. After years of working with Justin Craig and a decade-and-a-half recording with Tim O’Heir, producing these recordings as a team with them has been everything I could have hoped. I think we truly captured the brilliance of these great performers. If any band wants to learn any of these songs, these are the versions they should study.”
In addition, the production has been honored with Best Musical Revival by the Drama League and Outer Critics Circle Awards and has been nominated in the same category by the Drama Desk Awards.
Composer Stephen Trask, who created Hedwig for off-Broadway with John Cameron Mitchell 20 years ago and co-produced the Broadway cast recording, told BuzzFeed via phone that an album of the NPH-helmed production was originally not in the cards. In fact, the album was recorded in a “DIY, rock ‘n’ roll” fashion at a studio in Williamsburg as the show gained traction amidst theater-awards season. (On Sunday, Hedwig won four Tonys, including Best Musical Revival and two acting awards for Harris and Hall.)
“The intent was to feel as close as possible to what the show sounded like live,” Trask told BuzzFeed. “We really wanted to capture what makes this album special, and what makes this version of these songs my favorite.”
Hall, who stars as Yitzhak, told BuzzFeed via email that she recorded all of her vocals in one marathon day. “I loved every minute of the recording process! My absolute favorite moment was recording the track ‘When Love Explodes’ live with Stephen Trask at the piano! Everyone else was in the control room laughing and giving us the thumbs-up!”
Hedwig and the Angry Inch was first conceived by Trask and Mitchell in 1994 while they were working on another show. Hedwig premiered off-Broadway in 1998 with Mitchell donning the eponymous character’s blonde wig and heels (which he did again in the 2001 movie), and when the time came to record the 1999 cast album, Mitchell knew the material inside and out. He had also grown up loving and wanting to sing the ’70s glam rock that characterizes much of the show’s score, whereas Neil Patrick Harris had not.
So, Trask said, they put together a “cultural immersion” for Harris to study so that he could understand what influenced Hedwig and what would have been a part of her world. It included audio and video of acts like Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, Devo, the Ramones, The Clash, Iggy Pop, and Fugazi, all of whom provided vocal and visual cues for Hedwig. “[Harris] was more than happy [to study],” Trask said. “He’s such a detailed performer: the way he gets inside melodic notes or lyrics or acting cues … every little thing.”
Harris’ limited engagement is scheduled to end on Aug. 17, and most tickets are already sold out. But Trask believes that this date will not be the end of Hedwig. He hopes Harris will extend his run (a rep for the actor did not immediately return BuzzFeed’s request for comment), that they can bring the show to London with Harris, that they can secure another “spectacular” lead for the Broadway run, and that they’ll be able to film the show’s current incarnation.
But no matter what happens, the new cast recording will carry the former cult classic on. “As far as I’m concerned, this is the definitive version of these songs,” Trask said.