Broadway alum Andrew Rannells, who is set to take over for Tony winner Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch beginning August 20, is being extra careful these days. The Tony nominee joked with the The Toronto Star, saying, “You know, it’s Catholic guilt. Things are going so well that something bad has got to happen.”
Of course, nothing bad seems to be coming his way yet as he waits to throw on the iconic wig and pumps once more, having played the role in a Houston, Texas production in 2001. “I literally replied to an audition notice I saw in Backstage,” Rannells said of his first stint with the show. “On a personal note, it was shortly after my dad passed away…I needed to do something…I was very depressed.”
While the thought of Hedwig might conjure up glitter and glam rock, Rannells notes that there is a side to her that is not as noticeable on the surface: “it’s about feeling lost and looking for love and wanting to feel complete inside.”
The Book of Mormon and Girls star didn’t initially see himself stepping in for Harris. “Michael [Mayer, Hedwig director] had this idea that I should replace Neil when he left,” Rannells explained. “I came in and saw it that weekend. Neil was so amazing; I didn’t think I could possibly do it.”
Rannells received a Tony nod for his performance as Elder Price in The Book of Mormon. He’s also appeared on the Great White Way in Jersey Boys and Hairspray. His screen credits include Girls, The New Normal, Bachelorette and the upcoming film The Intern.
Rannells will play a limited engagement through October 12 at the Belasco Theatre. Harris is set to play his final performance on August 17.