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RuPaul’s Drag Race Star Headlines 20th Anniversary Production of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH

RuPaul’s Drag Race Star Mimi Imfurst (Braden Chapman) will star as HEDWIG in reTHEATER’s production of the 4th wall smashing, gender bending rock musicalHEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH.  The production will begin June 1st in Philadelphia at RUBA CLUB, a former Russian Social Club, and will be set as the backdrop for this new immersive production of the cult pop-culture phenomenon.  With its incredible score and hilariously heartfelt book, this 20th anniversary production re-examines John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s explosive rock musical with a fresh eye while paying homage to its iconic flair.

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH runs June 1-24 at RUBA CLUB (416 Green St).  Opening Night is Friday June 8 at 8 p.m. Performances are every FridaySunday with additional week days and late nights, see schedule for details. Performance times vary. Tickets are priced $15-40Brad. More information, full performance schedule, and tickets are available on reTHEATER’s website www.reTHEATER.org.

Brilliantly innovative, heartbreaking, and wickedly funny, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is the landmark musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask that is “groundbreaking and undoubtedly ahead of its time” (Entertainment Weekly). HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH tells the story of “internationally ignored song stylist” Hedwig Schmidt, a fourth-wall smashing East German rock ‘n’ roll goddess who also happens to be the victim of a botched sex-change operation, which has left her with just “an angry inch.” This outrageous and unexpectedly hilarious story is dazzlingly performed by Hedwig in the form of a rock gig/stand-up comedy routine backed by the hard-rocking band “The Angry Inch.” Using songs and monologues, Hedwig tells her journey, how her self-sacrificing escape out of East Berlin lead her to a trailer park in Kansas.  How she then turns to music and meets geeky Tommy Speck, whom she takes under her wing and soon falls for. Tommy steals her songs, achieves rock star fame, and Hedwig is once again cast aside. It’s a story about finding your other half, a search for love and self-acceptance.

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH will be lead RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Braden Chapman (Mimi Imfurst).  The role of Yitzhak will be played by Stephanie C. Kernisan. The Angry Inch will be played by Bobby Goodrich, Paul Severe Harlan, Robert Covello, EJ Simpson and Tucker Marhsall. This production will be directed by Josh Hitchens. Set Design is by Scott McMaster, Lighting Design is by Alyssandra Docherty and Costume Design/Music Direction is by Bobby Goodrich.  Stage Management is by Mark A Dahl and the Assistant Stage Manager is Abby Sturgis. Melody Wong is the Production Manager. Production Design and Co-Direction is by Braden Chapman.

“When I was 15, my family disowned me for being gay.  I was living on the streets and my only possessions were the clothes on my back, a discman, and the original Off-Broadway cast recording of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH. Those songs in many ways kept me going during the most difficult time in my life.  Now twenty years later, it brings me full circle to bring to life this incredible story & live in these songs that once saved me in unimaginable ways.” said Chapman of playing HEDWIG.

This production is co-produced by reTHEATER in association with FauxRealCo and presented under permission granted by Dramatists Play Service.

Braden Chapman (Mimi Imfurst) is a director, writer, actor and producer. Aside from two notorious turns on RuPaul’s Drag Race (and RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars), as Mimi Imfurst he has also appeared in drag on Nurse Jackie, Celebrity Apprentice, Blue Bloods and ABC’s What Would You Do? He was crowned Miss’d America 2017 and later that year became the first American Drag Queen to perform in Cuba since the embargo. He founded the ground-breaking gender bending “girl” group XELLE and as a producer created RuPaul’s Drag Race Battle of the Seasons, the Divas of Drag and Dragapalooza tours which have toured the world. Aside from touring as a drag comedian, onstage he has starred in productions of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (Hedwig),  THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW (Frank N Furter), INTO THE WOODS (Witch), THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANKENSTEIN (ANNE) as well as MARY, LIKE A VIRGIN (The Virgin Mary),  THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND (THE GOLDEN GIRLS UNAUTHORIZED MUSICAL) (ROZ),  THE FACTS OF LIFE- THE LOST EPISODE (Natalie),  and RHODA HEARTBREAK: THE MUSICAL (Rhoda).  Most recently he conceived & directed the award winning new play DIVINE/INTERVENTION, the first ever play about the life of the John Waters muse DIVINE. Many of his music is available on iTunes including his debut solo album The Fire,  select tracks from QUEENS, as well as his parodies and most recent singles SWEET TRANSVESTITE (From the Rocky Horror Show) and (A Little) PIECE OF PEACE MimiImfurst.com

 

Stephanie C. Kernisan (Yitzhak) is a writer and performer working primarily out of the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. Born and raised in North Carolina, Stephanie identifies as a queer Southern Belle. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2010, majoring in Film & Video Production with a double minor in Radio and Psychology. After college, she moved to New York to pursue her career. A nomad by nature, she came to Philadelphia in 2013. She can be seen working regularly with Casabuena Cultural Productions. Yitzhak is a role Stephanie has wished for since the tenth grade, and as a self-proclaimed RuPaul’s Drag Race fanatic, working on this production with Braden Chapman (Mimi Imfurst) is an absolute dream come true. Notable past performances include Eddie/Dr. Scott in The Rocky Horror Show, The Witch in Into The Woods, and Merilee in An Adult Evening With Shel Silverstein. She would like to thank her incredible family and friends for their continued support of her performance endeavors. An extra special mention to Mariangela Saavedra, who found this audition notice and wouldn’t allow Stephanie to miss it. She has been a mentor, a director, a creative partner, and above all, an invaluable friend.

 

Josh Hitchens (Direction) is a Philadelphia-based director, actor and playwright.  Favorite directing credits include Mercury Fur (BrainSpunk Theater), The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later (Quince Productions), Hedda Gabler (Physick House), Richard III (Mechanical Theater at Laurel Hill Cemetery), And Then There Were None and Vinegar Tom (Allens Lane Theater).  Josh is also directing a site specific production of Three Sisters at the historic Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion in June, where he is the Creative Director and founder of the Victorian Theatre program.  His play The Confession of Jeffrey Dahmer has had sold out runs in Philadelphia and Jersey Fringe, and recently received its Canadian premiere in a co-production by Theatre Outre and Theatre BSMT.  Josh is the Artistic Director of Going Dark Theatre, which is devoted to bringing classic and contemporary works of horror to the stage. joshhitchens.weebly.com

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