[[quoteright:306:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hedwigandtheangryinch.gif]]

--> ''On August 13, 1961, a wall was erected down the middle of the city of Berlin. The world was divided by a cold war, and the Berlin Wall was the most hated symbol of that divide. Reviled, graffitied, spit upon -- we thought the wall would stand forever. And now that it's gone, we don't know who we are anymore. Ladies and gentlemen, Hedwig is like that wall! Standing before you in the divide between East and West, slavery and freedom, man and woman, top and bottom! And you can try and tear her down, but before you do, you must remember [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuk39tu10tc&feature=youtu.be&t=2m39s one thing]]....''

''Hedwig And The Angry Inch'' was a 1998 off-Broadway {{rock opera}} by Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell, adapted into a film in 2001 with Mitchell in the title role.

The story follows Hedwig Robinson, who at first appears to be a male-to-female {{transsexual}}. She's the head of the "internationally ignored" nouveau glam rock band The Angry Inch. They play in a string failing sea food restaurants to small, hostile crowds, while stalking the much more successful "rock and roll 'icon'" Tommy Gnosis, who -- as Hedwig explains to her audience -- stole her songs. There's much resentment within the band, particularly between Hedwig and her aspiring drag queen husband Yitzhak.

[[HowWeGotHere Hedwig retells her life story to her few fans]]. Born in UsefulNotes/EastGermany under the name Hansel Schmidt, she was once the [[DudeLooksLikeALady effeminate]] son of a German woman named Hedwig and an unnamed American soldier. When the wall was built, Hansel's mother took her son to East Berlin to live a simple communist life. Bored and alone, Hansel spent his childhood listening to American Forces Radio, and pretending to be one of the "crypto-homo-rockers" of the 70's.

One day in his "early late twenties", after being kicked out of university for delivering a lecture on the "aggressive influence of German philosophy on rock and roll" titled "You, Kant, Always Get What You Want", Hansel meets a black American soldier named Luther. Luther instantly falls in love with the boy. He leaves him a candy trail of Berlin's symbol, colorful little gummi bears, seducing Hansel and introducing him to love. Hansel's mother, realizing that her son has no future in communist Germany, decides to let Hansel undergo a sex change operation in order for him to [[CitizenshipMarriage marry and leave the country]]. She gifts Hansel her passport -- and her name.

The operation is botched, leaving Hedwig with deformed genitalia, which she nicknames her "angry inch". Luther leaves Hedwig on the day the UsefulNotes/BerlinWall is demolished, which was also to be their one year wedding anniversary. Stranded in the United States and stripped of her identity, she's forced to create a new life for herself. As Hedwig struggles to unite her male and female side -- just when the city of Berlin is struggling to reunite itself -- she discovers there's much more to unite in what she considers her identity: the east and the west, the grownup and the child, the man and the woman, the old and the new. Keeping her head above water with odd jobs ("mostly of the type we call blow"), she meets the [[TheQuietOne introverted]] teenage military brat Tommy Speck and comes to consider him to be her "other half." Tommy is intrigued by Hedwig's music, and tries to make her part of his life...

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''Hedwig'' draws frequent comparisons to ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow'' and has garnered a similar cult following. The story draws heavily from both classical mythology and from the glam rock scene while providing new takes on gender and sex in pop culture.

The original Off-Broadway run won a number of awards including at the 1998 Outer Critics Circle and the 1998 Obie Awards.
In 2014, ''Creator/NeilPatrickHarris'' and Lena Hall won Tony awards for their performances in the Broadway revival of the same year. The show itself took home prizes for Best Revival and Best Lighting Design, as well as nominations for Best Direction of a Musical, and Scenic, Costume, and Sound Designs. [[Theatre/TheBookofMormon Andrew Rannells,]] replaced Harris in the title role through October 2014, followed by Creator/MichaelCHall. In late January 2015, John Cameron Mitchell returned to the role and was awarded the Special Tony Award later that year for his [[http://www.tonyawards.com/en_US/news/press_releases/2015-04-27/201504271430153485130.html "outstanding success"]] in the role. Creator/DarrenCriss and Taye Diggs also played Hedwig during the show's Broadway run in 2015. Notable actors who have portrayed Hedwig off-Broadway include Jerick Hofer (better known as [[Series/RuPaulsDragRace Jinkx Monsoon]]), Sven Ratzke, and Oh Man-seok.

No relation to [[Literature/HarryPotter a certain snowy owl.]]

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!!Contains the following tropes:

* AbusiveParents: Hedwig's father. Hansel's mother is somewhat better but makes him play in the oven and throws tomatoes at him, which becomes a bit of a BrickJoke later. It's implied that there is tension between Tommy and his father General Speck, but it's not elaborated on.
* AllMusicalsAreAdaptations: The film is an adaptation, but the stage show was completely original.
* AmbiguousGender:
** Yitzhak is played by a woman. The only unambiguous aspect of Yitzhak's gender is that they want to be feminine, but Hedwig forces them to dress as a man because she felt threatened by how good Yitzhak's drag act was.
** Just what gender Hedwig identifies as is debatable as well, though she tends to lean towards female pronouns etc rather than male ones. The sex change operation was for convenience in escape not because Hansel wanted to be a woman, but by the time we 'meet' Hedwig during the show she seems to identify more as a woman than a man - most noticeable in the way she refers to Hansel with male pronouns, but to her present self with female ones.
* AnachronismStew: The stage show started around 1998 and ran for several years OffBroadway. The film was released in 2001. The date of Hedwig's wedding and emigration to the US is 1988 and her marriage collapsed around the same time as the Berlin Wall in 1989. From there it becomes more vague. Hedwig's time in the trailer park takes place in the [[TheNineties early 1990s]], although (perhaps because they're homemade) the clothes seem to be straight out of TheSeventies and TheEighties. There's also no mention of when she met her bandmates, including Yitzhak, although the deleted scene hints that it's around the time of the Bosnian War (early 1990s). Made even more vague with the Broadway revival, which updates the story to set it in a Broadway theatre the night after [[ShowWithinAShow ''Hurt Locker: The Musical'']] closes.
** Hedwig's clothes look outdated because of how little income she has and a likely dependence on second hand shops for her wardrobe.
* AnguishedDeclarationOfLove: [[spoiler: Tommy as he runs out the backdoor.]]
-->[[spoiler: "I love you! I love you!"]]
-->[[spoiler: "Then love the front of me, honey! Love the--"]]
* ApologyGift: [[spoiler:Tommy apologizing to Hedwig in "Wicked Little Town Reprise" explaining that he was "just a boy and you were so much more/ than any god could ever plan/ more than a woman or a man/ and now I understand how much I took from you" and in turn giving her the ability to finally see herself as whole.]]
** [[spoiler: Hedwig giving Yitzhak her wig]]
* AuthorAppeal: Mitchell is a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_Faeries Radical Faerie]], and most of his works explore gender and sexuality as constructs.
* BackAlleyDoctor / EasySexChange: Hedwig gets a fast, cheap, and completely illegal shady operation. But because of this, the surgery became botched, leaving Hedwig with the titular "angry inch".
* BigBadFriend: Tommy pillages all of Hedwig's music and discards her faster than you can say "plagiarist."
* BilingualBonus: "Gummi" is German slang for condom. The gummi bears, as a symbol for the power of adulthood, freedom, and sex, are extremely sexually loaded as are the rest of the candies mentioned in the song Sugar Daddy.
* CerberusCallBack: Compare the intonation of "I was born on the other side/of a town ripped in two" in Tear Me Down vs Exquisite Corpse.
* CrossoverCosmology: ''The Origin of Love'' features [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Zeus]], [[Myth/NorseMythology Thor]], [[Myth/EgyptianMythology Osiris]], [[AndZoidberg and]] [[Myth/HinduMythology some Indian god]]. [[JerkassGods They're all dicks.]]
* DeadpanSnarker: Hedwig.
* DestructiveRomance: "I'll marry you on the condition that a wig never touch your head again. And we've been inseparable ever since, isn't that right, Yitzhak?"
* DragQueen: Yitzhak/Krystal
* EpicRocking: '"Angry Inch," 'Midnight Radio''.
* EverybodyWantsTheHermaphrodite: Hedwig becomes a sex symbol.
* FalseSoulmate
* GainaxEnding: The final number of the show involves [[spoiler:an extreme costume change, in which Hedwig appears to turn into Tommy. Did Tommy come to the theater? Is Hedwig Tommy? Does Tommy really exist? Does Hedwig? Is Hansel singing to WLTR to Hedwig? Hard to say, though the creators seem to lean towards Tommy and Hedwig both being real, separate people!]]
* GallowsHumor
* {{Goth}}: Skzsp
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Hedwig jokes about when she had to prostitute herself to survive. "I returned to doing odd jobs. Mostly the jobs we call blow. I had lost my job at the Base PX and I had lost my gag reflex. You do the math!"
* IAmSong: "Tear Me Down"
--> "I'm the new Berlin Wall, baby! ''Try'' and tear me down!"
** And later "Wig in a Box"
--> "Look at the woman I've become."
* IncrediblyLamePun: Hansel delivered what he called a "brilliant lecture" on rock 'n' roll and East German philosophy entitled "You Kant Always Get What You Want." Extended in the revival with the subtitle "But If You Try Sometime, You Might Get What You Nietzche."
* IWantSong: "Origin of Love" is a subtle one, establishing Hedwig's desire to find her "other half."
* {{Jerkass}}: Hedwig again. Her treatment of Yitzhak is outright psychological abuse. She's a JerkassWoobie if ever there was one.
* JesusWasWayCool: "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal lord and savior?" "No, but I love his work."
* LustObject: Tommy in-canon
* MediumBlending: Several animated segments, especially prominent in "Origin of Love." Also notable in the transition between "Angry Inch" and "Wig in a Box".
* MindScrew: The ending, of the film especially.
* MrsRobinson: Hedwig initiates a relationship with then-17-year-old Tommy when she is at least thirty. Bonus points for her name, since her marriage to Luther, literally being "Mrs. Robinson."
* PunnyName: Phyllis Stein, the band's manager. Also Yitzhak's original stage name (which also [[CrossesTheLineTwice crosses the line twice]]), Krystal Nacht.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: "Origin of Love" has a lot of elements of this.
-->"...like two pieces of a puzzle that don't quite fit together but are jammed together and left on a table by... (railing at the heavens)... some dangerous shut-in with too much time on his hands!"
* RecursiveCrossdressing: When Yitzhak finally gets his "dream" of becoming a drag queen. The role is traditionally played by a woman dressed as a man, who reverts to dressing as a woman/drag queen at the end of the show.
* ReincarnationRomance: The subject of "Origin of Love", adapted from Plato's ''Symposium'', is how men and woman (and men and men and women and women) were once joined together as one person and the gods cut them in half for hubiris; love therefore comes from meeting your past-life other half.
* SadClown: In the stage play, Hedwig has a running joke going on where she asks her audience if she's laughing or crying. It becomes clear after a while that she's grinning so hard because if she'd ever give into crying, she'd pretty much kill herself.
-->"I laugh because I will cry if I don't."
* ShoutOut
** "And then there were the crypto homo rockers: Music/LouReed, Music/IggyPop, Music/DavidBowie..."
** "Here's to [[Music/PattiSmith Patti]], and [[Creator/TinaTurner Tina]], and [[Music/YokoOno Yoko]], [[Music/ArethaFranklin Aretha]], and Nona, and [[Music/VelvetUnderground Nico]] and me."
** The entire song is a fairly obvious tribute to [[Music/DavidBowie Rock 'n' Roll Suicide]].
** Hedwig shouts [[{{Tommy}} "Tommy, can you hear me?"]] when talking about Tommy Gnosis.
*** When Yitzhak [[spoiler: is offered the role of Angel]], WordOfGod on the DVD commentary states this is a ShoutOut to Creator/JohnCameronMitchell being offered the same part in ''Theatre/{{Rent}}''.
** The 2014 Broadway Revival adds references to David Belasco, Creator/JohnBarrymore, Creator/MarlonBrando, Creator/TimCurry and Creator/MarkRylance as well as a slew of shoutouts to shows that had previously played at the Belasco before Hedwig's "special one night only performance."
* TeamMom: Phyllis
* UnusualEuphemism: "My 'bishop in a turtleneck.'" Used once more in the stage show, after which Hedwig congratulates herself on a successful running gag.
* WhiteVoidRoom: During the song "Midnight Radio" in the film.
* WordSaladLyrics: Several verses in "Exquisite Corpse." Some stanzas are coherent ("I'm all hollowed out, covered in a paper shroud and all the rest's illusion"), but then you get this verse:
--> A random pattern with a needle and thread
--> The overlapping way diseases are spread to
--> A tornado body with a hand grenade head
--> And the legs are two lovers entwined!
** Of course, word salad is what an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exquisite_corpse exquisite corpse]] is supposed to be. A coherent one actually ruins the point of the exercise.
* YumYum: "And a giant sized SugarDaddy named Luther..."
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