Zach Rosing and Zack Neiditch, together or collectively, have gifted Indianapolis stages with shows such as Mad Mad Hercules, The Gab at IndyFringe, and The Great Bike Race. Now Zach & Zack are bringing Hedwig and the Angry Inch to the Epilogue Players theater.
(The run has been extended through Jan. 21. See box below.)
The gender fluidity of this particular rock and roll musical reveals itself soon enough when we meet Hansel Schmidt. He’s a young person living in East Berlin who craves Western culture. Luther — an American soldier who will take Hansel back to the States with him if they marry — seems like just the ticket.
This prompts Hansel’s transition to Hedwig. (Not all goes as planned...)
One year later, Luther leaves Hedwig and the Berlin Wall comes down. Hedwig later finds true love again (she thinks) in the teenager Tommy Speck. However, Tommy steals her songs and moves on to be a successful rock star. Now Hedwig is tailing Tommy’s tour by booking B-grade venues in the same cities. Her story is told through song in her current cathartic performance.
LISA GAUTHIER MITCHISON: What is it about Hedwig that drew the two of you into producing it?
ZACK NEIDITCH: I’m a big fan of the show just in general. We’d been discussing doing the show, and the opportunity came to be able to do it in this great space, so we just jumped!
ZACH ROSING: I’m always interested in revisiting past projects to see how they can be made bigger and better. I was fortunate enough to produce the show (along with director Paige Scott) at Footlite Musicals in 2014, just a few steps from where Zack and I are doing it this time. This was pre-Broadway revival, and the show hadn’t been seen in Indy since the Phoenix Theatre production around 2002. It’s definitely one of those shows with a cult following, and the 2014 production sold out the entire run. I’m hoping audiences will return for this newest production.
I’m also interested in shows that can attract a non-theater crowd. We’ve definitely been targeting the Rocky Horror folks to come see what Hedwig is all about! Each new experience makes it more likely they’ll branch out and try something else.
LISA: What was it about Tim Hunt that made you see him as Hedwig?
ZACK: Tim Hunt is so fantastic. I’ve worked with Tim in the past and I’ve always cast him as buttoned-up nerds, which is the total opposite of real-life Tim. So I was excited to cast him in something on the way other end of the spectrum.
LISA: The Epilogue theater isn’t known to house these kinds of shows. How are you working around staging and, especially, sound?
ZACK: I actually really wanted to do it in Epilogue. The show was birthed in tiny punk clubs in New York, and this space gives us that intimate feeling the show would have had there. We’re really trying to lean in to the intimate staging and attempting to turn Epilogue into a dingy punk bar. It’s been a fun challenge.
ZACH: We’re very thankful to the fine folks at Epilogue for letting us take over their space for a few weeks. I’m pretty certain most of the people who will attend have never been in this space. It’s going to be intimate — only 50 seats per night. It’s going to be bright and colorful — assuming I can find enough outlets. And it’s going to be loud. Sound is one of my various little hobbies, and being a nomadic theater company often requires supplying all your own equipment. We’re thrilled to bring a rock concert experience to an unexpected venue.
LISA: Hedwig is a flamboyant dresser. How are costumes being approached?
ZACK: Costumes are being handled by Beck Jones, who is a total wunderkind. I was able to give some very basic wants and needs, and he took that and ran so far with it. Even his sketches are art!
LISA: Same question, but with makeup.
ZACK: Daniel Klingler is a regular go-to for Zach and me, so he and I have a language already. He’s a real pro, and along with Andrew Elliot, we’ve been able to give a look that’s both traditional, expected Hedwig, and something totally new all at once.
LISA: Got any funny rehearsal stories yet?
ZACK: When dealing with a show of this nature and subject matter so touchy, there’s been many jokes cracked that I highly doubt are publishable …
LISA: What compelled you to form your own company?
ZACK: We did our first show together and it worked well. And then another that worked well, and it just kept on going. So finally, we just decided to put a name on it.
ZACH: Like Zack said, we work well together. We both do work for other companies, but I feel our talents complement each other very well without overlapping. It lets us both focus on what we do best without too much conflict. We don’t approach it with the mindset of having to fill a season. For now, we do interesting stuff when the time is right and there’s a space to be in!