Harris Channels ’Hedwig’ When Audience Acts Unruly
Neil Patrick Harris knows that his character Hedwig speaks directly to the audience throughout his Broadway show, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." So he understands how things can sometimes get unruly.
"Hedwig’s energy transfers itself into a dialogue with the audience. So if someone calls something out, it’s sort of my responsibility, in character, to make sure that that person knows that this isn’t the kind of show like ’Rocky Horror,’ where I’m going to be bantering with them," Harris said after the show’s opening on Tuesday.
Several times during previews, Harris responded to fans calling out to him as "Neil," and his replies were just what you’d expect from Hedwig, sometimes laced with sassy expletives.
"That’s part of the job that I have to say, ’All right,’ in character, ’Settle it down girl, we’re in the middle of a show right now," Harris said. "So that happened and people thought it was funny. I’ve done worse. She’s a tough girl that Hedwig."
But the actor says his responses are never planned.
"I don’t come up with zingers and think, ’I can’t wait to say something rude to this person,’ but sometimes things happen. That’s why it’s theater," Harris said with a smile.
Theater is what the 40-year-old has always thrived on doing. He has three Broadway shows already under his belt, but he couldn’t do much during the past decade while he was starring in the highly successful sitcom, "How I Met Your Mother."
He successfully hosted the Tony Awards four of the previous five years, but claimed that experience was too brief for him.