John Cameron Mitchell, star of cult classic Hedwig and the Angry Inch, caught up with Jesse Jones ahead of his first trip down under.
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John Cameron Mitchell, star and creator of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, has never visited Australia—but he did provide a voice for the kangaroo mascot “terribly” in an ad for nineties cookie snack Dunkaroos.
Mitchell has come a long way since playing an animated kangaroo, and he’s about to treat fans to a new live show that’s set to be full of surprises for everyone—including him.
“I don’t know much about it yet, which is kind of exciting,” he says.
“We’re really inventing it in Australia.”
Mitchell will channel his glam rock icon Hedwig for The Origin of Love, but he describes his costume as though it will be the real star.
“The costume has its own little story, it creates different silhouettes and breaks down, deconstructs, reducing until it’s down to the real me,” he says.
“And along the way I’ll be singing highlights from Hedwig, outtakes, songs from artists that inspired Hedwig, and songs from my new film [How to Talk to Girls at Parties].”
The show is set to break conventions and straddle genres as it evolves during its Australian tour.
“It’s gonna be a real grab bag, but not super structured, not super scripted,” Mitchell says.
“More of an unstructured rock concert where you get stories, you get songs, audience interaction, some in-your-face commentary about what’s going on in the world.
“I want to keep it loose. It’s not a musical or a cabaret show, it’s really more of a rock show with stories, and gathering stories as it goes.
“I think it’s going to be unusual, and we’re going to find our tone in the moment.”
The musical story of a fictional East German trans singer, Hedwig is a queer cult classic film.
“Gender bending and rock and roll go together,” says Mitchell.
“To me, we were just continuing a legacy of glam rock and punk rock, which is an ancient one.
“But it took its time to build, because the film was actually a bit of flop on screen in the US.
“It did really well in other countries. In Korea it’s actually very popular—I think it’s something to do with the divided country.”
Times have changed since Hedwig‘s release in 2001, and New York-based Mitchell has seen improvement in LGBTI acceptance.
“There are still people who trade on fear,” he says.
“Fear of their own sexuality, fear of the future.
“But it’s changed radically in the last 15 years, people’s understanding of these aspects of humanity, and that can only be good.”
Mitchell congratulates Australia on marriage equality and says he is looking forward to his upcoming first trip here.
“The magical land on the other side of the world better be as good as they say,” he teases.
“Maybe I’ll fall in love and stay.”