Dallas — Hannah Corneau has some impressive off-Broadway and regional musical theater credits, and has landed her biggest gig to date in the national tour of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. She plays Yitzhak, the sideman to Hedwig in the tour of the 2014 Broadway revival of the glam rock musical that debuted in 1998.
Created by, and originally starring, John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, the show had a cult following in the original off-Broadway run, which was followed by a 2001 movie (directed by Mitchell) and productions across the country and globe. It follows the journey of a genderqueer man from East Germany to Kansas in pursuit of rock stardom, and his other half.
We chatted with Corneau about the show, working with Euan Morton as Hedwig, and the topicality as transgendered people are becoming more accepted. The tour comes to the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Winspear Opera House for one week, through Feb. 12.
You can also read Mark Lowry’s interview with John Cameron Mitchell in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, here.
TheaterJones: You studied musical theater and your credits include Evita and Fiddler on the Roof, and also Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Has it been easy to adjust to the rock voice for Yitzhak?
Hannah Corneau: I have been involved in the musical theater community for a couple of years now. As I’ve matured, my voice has transitioned and explored other genres of music. My voice lends itself to folk and rock music as well as Broadway theater. If you have a technique set for yourself, you need to be able to adapt that.
There is a lot of improvisation in the show, mostly done by Hedwig. How has the chemistry been between you and Euan Morton so far?
Euan is very open to anything happening on stage. That provides me with a task to take whatever Hedwig gives [Yitzhak] that night. A lot of times it depends on the other character in Hedwig, which is the audience, and that differs with each city. … The book of the show is so strong and these characters are well developed, [it makes the improv easier].
Since Hedwig premiered in 1998, and even since the Broadway debut in 2014, the national conversation about transgender individuals has become more prominent. Hedwig is now referred to as “genderqueer” rather than “transsexual.” How has that played into the conversations with the director and cast?
When we were talking about the piece in rehearsal, we really wanted these characters to be as complex as they are. They are humans. Humans are transcendent beings and we’re really all alike. We love, we’re constantly trying to find out who we are. There are just such large themes that affect everyone.
The show was always big in the transgender community. Is that the same now that we’re seeing more transgender activism and prominent transgender personalities, like Laverne Cox, and characters, such as Jeffrey Tambor’s character in Transparent?
Hedwig is loved in the community. We’re happy that there’s been a progressive nature to that community, and that has made Hedwig even more of a relevant and timely piece.
I’m assuming Euan has some bathroom and Trump jokes?
Euan is a very passionate individual who likes to stand for what he believes in. I think Hedwig does the same thing, she stands up for what she believes in.