'Hedwig' for the Holidays

Coming just in time for the holidays: an original local production of John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the late-'90s Off Broadway hit rock musical about a transsexual rock star and her sad career and love life.

"It's the perfect anti-holiday show," says producer/director/star Chris Hamblin, a veteran of the Actors Co-op's Hedwig, from 2006. "When you've been jingle-belled to death, go watch a queen have a nervous breakdown. It's a great Christmas gift."

The show, scheduled for Pilot Light, starts on Friday, Nov. 25, and runs through Dec. 10, with shows Thursdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m. Admission is $20. ("I have to pay people," Hamblin says. "I don't think you'd see this show for any less than that anywhere else.") The cast includes Hamblin as Hedwig, Chris Bratta, Andrew and Toby Piarrot, and an unnamed "special guest" as Hedwig's friend and bandmate Yitzhak.

The story follows the title character, a gay East German boy, through a botched sex-change operation, emigration to the United States, a failed romance with a Christian teenager who goes on to international success with Hedwig's songs, and a tour of seedy rock clubs. Hamblin's new original production, which has Mitchell's blessing (Hamblin appeared in Mitchell's controversial 2006 movie Shortbus) focuses on the tour and the music, with Hamblin playing keyboards in the band.

"Many productions forget that Hedwig actually wrote all those songs," he says. "Is she a bitch? Yes. Is she in a very troublesome situation? Yes. But she also wrote these brilliant songs."

Hamblin's inspiration came during a recent benefit show at Pilot Light. "I had an almost out-of-body experience that I had done something there that I hadn't. It was Hedwig," he says. "If Hedwig had a real band, that's where she would be booked. As an independent artist, not affiliated with the infrastructure or any production company in town, I thought a bar, particularly one that hosts the kind of music that's in Hedwig