MOE BERG performing as part of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH at the Bathurst Street Theatre (736 Bathurst) for an indefinite run, Monday-Thursday and Saturday 8:30 pm, Friday 7 and 10 pm. $19-$35. 416-872-1111.
Whatever audiences think of the current production of Hedwig And The Angry Inch (the reviews, all bad, are most decidedly in), musical director Moe Berg can be credited with having guts. Handling the score and band selection for the Toronto production of a play that won across-the-board raves in NYC was daunting enough, but Berg is also a theatre virgin. OK, OK, so he plays a musician backing Hedwig, a gender-confused German singer dumped in middle America who tells his sorry tale of disenfranchisement via songs, a running monologue and sketches projected on a screen. But Berg would be hard-pressed to recall the last time he performed someone else's music in front of a seated and mostly sober crowd. Seven times a week.
You came to the theatre world cold. Any reservations? Once I heard the score, I was there. I can't honestly say that I'm a fan of musical theatre or know anything about it. Most of the music in so-called rock theatre always seemed inauthentic to me. And I thought it would be a challenge to do something I'd never done before.
A play. A book of fiction. International pop stardom. You're amassing quite a resume. I've been fortunate to have opportunities to do some different creative things. At this point in my life, that's more important than maintaining some sort of status in any particular area.
Any bizarre observations from the stage? We've had a few Hedwig look-alikes.
How do the worlds of theatre and music compare? With a play, everything's choreographed and things have to hit on the right beat for everything to work. In music, we have a set list but that's about it.
The reviews have been brutal. How does that make you feel? Well, this play is unique, and I think it helps to go in with at least some understanding of glam rock. Both the Globe and National Post reviewers admitted they didn't, which puts the play at a disadvantage. Nobody would send me to review opera, because I don't like it or understand it. But my feelings aren't hurt. In my musical career, the only bad reviews that stung were those that were partly right about something. That isn't the case here.