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Riverdale's musical episode softened the politics of Hedwig and the Angry Inch

  • The CW drama nailed the look Wednesday of its TV musical take on John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, about a gender-fluid musician who suffered a botched sex change operation in order to secure passage out of Cold War-era East Berlin alongside an older man. But Ashley Lee notes that the TV musical missed out on what made Hedwig so important. "Of course, it’s impossible for a 45-minute television episode to fully encapsulate the plot, context and legacy of an 100-minute stage show," says Lee. "And as with any musical TV episode, songs are trimmed for time and recontextualized to further the storylines of those onscreen, not those who originally sang them onstage. But Riverdale’s decision to remove any mention of the surgery snafu or the characters in Hedwig’s fictional orbit leaves just a fraction of her story intact, primarily in the form of passing mentions of the Berlin Wall." Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa tells Lee that Hedwig's composer and lyricist Stephen Trask, a Riverdale fan, suggested Wednesday's musical and that the show consulted with GLAAD in making the episode. “Every time we do one of these musical episodes, we do have to figure out the balance of how much of the story of the musicals do we include or explain,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “What I think people know about Hedwig is the outlandish Hedwig look, the iconic costumes and the rock score. In this case, it felt like the quest for identity in pre- and post-Berlin-Wall-breaking-down felt very removed from the stories that we were telling with our kids. So we focus more on the song in terms of mood and emotionality as opposed to hard story."

    TOPICS: Riverdale, The CW, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, LGBTQ