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The How I Met Your Mother star is making a high-profile return to the stage as the title character in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the popular musical about an East German transgender band frontwoman and her botched sex-change operation.
On Tuesday, an audience member shouted, “I love you, Neil!” mid-performance, and Harris responded “Who’s Neil? I’m not Neil.” He then turned to Yitzhak, Hedwig’s bandmate and potential love interest played by Lena Hall, and said “Are you Neil? You better not be Neil.” And then he shouted, “I’m doing something up here, motherf—er!” The New York Post first reported the interaction.
There was initially some misunderstanding about the outburst, and the production released the following statement, clarifying the nature of Harris’ actions: “Hedwig is a cheeky character and every night Neil interacts with the audience. This is totally in the spirit of the character and show.”
Producer David Binder says interactions like this are one of the great things about the show and Harris’ performance. Binder also produced the musical’s 1998 off-Broadway premiere starring author John Cameron Mitchell, who wrote the show along with composer-lyricist Stephen Trask. “No one is safe from Hedwig’s rapier wit and every night Neil’s in-character, razor-sharp retorts leave the audience howling with laughter and applauding for more,” Binder tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Even Hedwig’s targets love the attention from our diva.”
Hedwig and the Angry Inch will have its official opening on Tuesday at the Belasco Theatre in New York City. For the week ending April 13, 2014, the show grossed $884,092, which is 107 percent of its potential with a $125.44 average ticket price.
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