Rock music is nothing new when it comes to musicals, but if you're looking for the glam-rock concert feel with theater seating, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" is ready to rock at The Empty Space.
Be prepared for a 90-minute musical extravaganza, said director Michelle Guerrero.
"The show is presented like a rock concert, and it has a flow that would be lost if we were to have an intermission," she wrote in an email.
Through the course of the show, singer Hedwig (played by Tevin Joslen), who identifies as a woman, discusses her struggles with gender identity, which is complicated by a failed sex change operation as well as her past and current relationships, including with husband Yitzak (Nancee Steiger). Yitzak, who also serves as Hedwig's assistant and back-up singer, clearly resents his wife's talent and their fraught interactions fuel the two-person show as well as the rich musical numbers.
"I really want to audiences to experience the show and see the insane amount of work Tevin, Nancee, and the band has put into the show," Guerrero said. "Tevin takes command of the stage for nearly the entirety of the show and he leaves a piece of himself on that stage every night. It is really beautiful to see."
Backing the performer is The Angry Inch, the rock 'n' roll band featuring musicians James Dandy, Nicole Dandy, Jonathan Weinmann and Tony Rinaldi.
Along with evening shows, which run through July 7, there is a Midnight Radio performance, named for one of the show's songs, on Saturday. The bar opens at 11 p.m. serving refreshments and adult beverage including themed cocktails such as Gummibärchen (raspberry vodka, peach schnapps and Sprite), Wicked Little Whiskey (whiskey and ginger ale, with a squeeze of fresh lemon) and Sugar Daddy (champagne topped with a tuft of cotton candy).
The late-night show was suggested by the theater's financial director and fellow "Hedwig" fan Kristina Saldana.
"She thought 'Hedwig' being essentially a rock concert, would be a cool thing to do for our audiences," Guerrero said. "We're also hoping to get some of the people/actors that wouldn't normally be able to make it to the 8 p.m. show."
The show will also hold a benefit performance on June 28, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to benefit The Center for Sexuality & Gender Diversity (formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Center of Bakersfield).
Whenever people attend, Guerrero hopes they enjoy themselves.
"I would like them to have a good time, rock out to the music and fabulousness that is 'Hedwig,' and also I hope they leave fans."