-> ''"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 {{transgender}} woman. 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. Tommy -- 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]], of being born in UsefulNotes/EastGermany and listening to the "crypto-homo-rockers" of the 70's on American Forces Radio. Of how she made her way to the States and gained her titular angry inch. 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 her identity: the east and the west, the grownup and the child, the old and the new.


''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 Creator/LenaHall 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.]] Though [[Fanfic/MyImmortal Tara Gilesbie]] seems to think there is.

!!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: Sort of. The film is an adaptation of the stage show, while the stage show grew out of a rock band/drag club act that John Cameron Mitchell started when he got annoyed that all drag performers just lip-synced to records.
* 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. Word of God says that she is not specifically transgender, but something outside the gender binary.
* 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]]
** Tommy says his guitar is this from his father.
* 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.
* CerebusCallBack: 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
* DudeLooksLikeALady: "Hansel, I can't believe you're not a girl."
* EroticEating: "And a giant sized SugarDaddy named Luther..."
* EpicRocking: '"Angry Inch," 'Midnight Radio''.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: The first four seconds of the movie perfectly nail down exactly who Hedwig is by having her walk confidently to the allyway entrance of a building while dressed to the nines, then toss her umbrella aside as she enters as if she expects someone to catch it for her.
* EverybodyWantsTheHermaphrodite: Hedwig becomes a sex symbol.
* FalseSoulmate: Luther? Tommy? Yitzhak? Who is Hedwig's missing half?
* {{Foreshadowing}}: In "Sugar Daddy," Hedwig (then Hansel) tells Luther, "If you buy me the dress, I'll be more woman than a man like you can stand." [[spoiler:A year after their marriage, Luther leaves Hedwig for a man]].
* 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."
* {{Mythpunk}}: The heart and soul of the story.
* 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 [[Music/{{Tommy}} "Tommy, can you hear me?"]] when talking about Tommy Gnosis.
** 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, Hedwig's manager in the film.
* UnsettlingGenderReveal: Luther initially takes the sunbathing Hansel for a girl. Hansel corrects him somewhat dramatically.
* 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.