A look at Hedwig (played by Justin Carter-Van Pelt) facing the audience. Brookside’s Arts Asylum will feature Hedwig and the Angry Inch March 2nd to the 11th. Photo courtesy Arts Asylum Copyright Jonathon Lloyd Schriock

“Boundary-breaking rock musical” comes to Arts Asylum

“It’s an incredibly important and beautiful story being told.”

By Glen Vaughn-Petersen

Brookside’s Arts Asylum is preparing for a timeless show with its production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Hedwig is a boundary-breaking rock musical of romance, heartbreak, and acceptance about the titular Hedwig. Hedwig is a genderqueer singer from East Germany who, after a botched gender reassignment surgery and an escape from East Berlin, makes a second attempt at love and music in Junction City, Kansas. 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Hedwig, and the folks at the Arts Asylum feel that its story is timelier and more relevant than ever. “It’s really important this story never goes away,” says Korey Childs, artistic director at the Arts Asylum. “That is even more relevant with laws that are happening.” The laws Childs references are those across the United States endangering the freedoms and access to gender-affirming medical care for transgender and non-binary people. “It’s an incredibly important and beautiful story being told,” says Courtney Perry, education director. “I think it doesn’t get its justice often enough.”

The production of this show is special for another reason as well. The actor playing Hedwig, Justin Carter-Van Pelt, will be performing in this production as his last, after having portrayed the role of Hedwig six other times since 2002. “Over that time, it’s been an amazing gift to portray the same role more than once, almost every four to five years,” says Carter-Van Pelt. “There’s so much life that happens in those five years, and, as I get older, there’s even more life crammed into those five years, so it’s always kind of a journey to see where she is.” 

“It’s a shame for a lot of people that judge it on its title,” adds Perry. “They don’t get to the point, which is that it’s this really beautiful journey of self-love and loving others.”

The Arts Asylum originated at 9th and Harrison, created to “provide space and assistance to artists of all varieties”. However, with COVID, this location closed down, and the Asylum made the move to the A to Z Theatrical Campus at 824 Meyer Blvd in early August of 2021. 

Hedwig and the Angry Inch will be running from March 2nd to March 11th at the Arts Asylum. Visit www.theartsasylum.org for more information. 


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