Taye Diggs is the first African-American to play lead in gender-bending lead role of Hedwig in Hegwig and the Angry Inch.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is one-part rock concert, one-part storytelling. Which obviously combined and work really well together.
I tells the story of Hedwig, who was born in a male body as Hansel. As a young boy he is lured into a scheme to flee his Communist Germany by getting a sex change and legally marrying an American G.I. But the surgery goes wrong, leaving Hansel with an ‘‘angry inch.’’ He decides thereafter to live as a woman, changing his name to Hedwig.
Taye Diggs, the buff, straight, 44-year-old African-American that is known for being a sex symbol, who Ebony dubbed Diggs in 2005 the "black Clark Gable,” essentially naming him as the poster-boy (man?) for masculinity in Hollywood. Now he has some very different shoes to fill. This transgender and traditional white role is now Taye’s for the filling.
Diggs is not foreign to the stage, previously starring in RENT. But after seeing the Hedwig for the first time, he was a little bit wary. He told the NYTimes about his experience:
"I was young, and back then, transgender scared me, and there was this man onstage with a crazy wig. Since I was a kid, I’ve been trying to wean myself off of seeing things as right and wrong and black and white and good and bad. And Hedwig was a mixture of all that stuff. It became a dream role."
He's debuting this role on Broadway tonight. We’ll officially see how he handles those heels. But also see someone unexpected take the role and bend stereotypes once again.