By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
The difference between this rock musical and all other shows claiming to be rock musicals, including Rocky Horror and Hair, is that Hedwig has both a good story line and a score packed with big, subversive, angry songs infused with the real spirit of rock. Trask's score for Hedwig is nasty, loud, funny, ironic, touching and memorable. There is more tragedy and grandeur in the book and score for Hedwig than in Rent, or in that granddaddy of all rock musicals, Jesus Christ Superstar. The rap on the Music Hall at Fair Park is always about the sound system. With most shows there, the over-amplified, over-miked sound comes out fuzzy, tinny or so badly balanced the audience is left guessing who's singing where and what they're singing about.
Miraculously, the sound is just right for the road tour production of Flower Drum Song, now winding up two weeks at Fair Park. Every word, every note is clear, and for once the fine pit orchestra doesn't threaten to drown out the chorus. Good thing, too, because the cast of this late-'50s musical about Asian immigrants in San Francisco is topnotch. With its new book by David Henry Hwang, the show seems fresh and relevant. The music remains some of the best in the Rodgers and Hammerstein ouevre.
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