A brand new production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch starring Neil Patrick Harris is getting ready to shower the Great White Way with glitter and Zima, but there will be one important face missing on opening night: Legendary rocker Lou Reed, who passed away October 27 at the age of 71. Not only is Reed name-checked in the gritty rock musical, young Hedwig sings along to the glam rock icon’s anthem “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” in an inspiring scene by playwright and original star John Cameron Mitchell. Composer Stephen Trask posted an emotional tribute to Reed on the official Hedwig on Broadway Facebook page, and we couldn’t resist sharing his moving memories of the glam rock legend.
“Yesterday was a sad and shocking day. To say Lou Reed had an influence on Hedwig's songs is like saying Hedwig wears a little makeup, it's so obvious and understated. From 'Tear Me Down,' which started as straight-up rip-off, to [the 'Midnight Radio' lyrics] All the strange rock and rollers/You know you're doing all right, the Hedwig score is in many ways just one big Lou Reed mash-up. When John [Cameron Mitchell] and I were first writing the show, Lou Reed's music loomed large. Not just the famous stuff with [Velvet Underground], but solo records like Berlin, Transformer, The Blue Mask, New York and Magic and Loss were in constant rotation and were avidly listened to and studied, their songs learned and sung reading off hand scrawled lyric sheets. Jack [Steeb], my old friend and bandmate and John's boyfriend, and I stayed up all until near dawn listening to Lou Reed albums.
“I remember the night that Lou and Laurie Anderson came to see us perform at the Jane Street. When I saw him in the audience, my reaction was to just start crying, which I kept up until some time after 'Wig In A Box.' On the elevator ride up to the dressing room, he slipped his hand under my denim vest and felt me up, Laurie Anderson watching and smiling. It was surreal. People remember him as curmudgeonly but he was generous and attentive to each of us backstage. I saw him again when he invited me to sit next to him at a ‘60s tribute night at The Bottom Line. When he dropped his guard, he was just a warmhearted mensch. At least that's what I remember.
"Needless to say, as we prepare to bring Hedwig to Broadway and I brush-up on the songs to begin rehearsing with Neil next week, Lou Reed had already been on my mind almost every day. I'd say he'll be missed but I'd imagine he will be in people's lives a little more these days. He will be in mine. So, I'll just say This Halloween is something to be sure/Especially to be here without you.”