I was lucky enough to recently see Darren Criss in Hewdig in Los Angeles. I’m a huge fan of Hedwig, and it was awesome to see him in it.
If you’ve only seen the movie (as I have), the live version acts as if it were all one big, single show. The band and Yitzhak are on stage, but it’s largely a one “man” show with Hedwig doing most of the talking. The character of Tommy Gnosis is spoken about, but never actually seen. Despite this, the musical is quite faithful to the movie (or really, the other way around, since the musical was first). So it can be argued that the movie retains much of the spirit of the original, and expands storylines that don’t really appear on the live version (for instance, there’s nothing about Yitzhak wanting to do Rent, and there is no manager at all).
And much like Gilbert & Sullivan, the play has the flexibility to stay fresh and current, as there were many references to the current social and political climate. Darren Criss, who is in fact straight, is a great gay supporter, and does a great job in the role both as the character and the singing. It also doesn’t hurt that by the end of the show he appears barefoot and wearing only leather underwear (he wears the shoes at the encore).
While I’d still love to see Neil Patrick Harris do the role, Darren Criss was also a great choice. I was lucky to see it.