Looks like the producers behind Hedwig and the Angry Inch have found a suitable replacement for newly minted Tony winner Neil Patrick Harris. Tony nominee Andrew Rannells who got his start in the original cast of The Book of Mormon, will be replacing Neil Patrick Harris when he takes his final bow on August 17.
Although Neil Patrick Harris has brought new life to the revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Andrew Rannells isn’t a newbie by any means. Taking on Broadway’s The Book of Mormon, Rannells transitioned into television and was heavily featured on the popular HBO series Girls as Elijah. The actor was also the lead on Ryan Murphy’s gay surrogate sitcom, the ill-fated The New Normal.
As for Neil Patrick Harris, prior to his turn in Hedwig, his image skyrocketed to fame for the second time since his starring role in the 80’s series Doogie Howser. Harris made a name for himself as an adult actor playing over-the-top womanizer Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother. When he announced that he would return to Broadway in Hedwig, he was wrapping up the ninth and final season of the CBS sitcom.
For Rannells the actor’s transition from Broadway to television wasn’t as smooth as Neil Patrick Harris’ journey. In 2012 the actor told Playbill:
“Sometimes very difficult for musical theatre actors to make that transition. I had a hard time for years in New York even getting auditions for television shows, because everything on my resume was a musical. And I think that people perceived that as, ‘Oh, he’s going to be too big and too broad for this. He’s going to be too theatrical.’
As highlighted by the Tonys, Neil Patrick Harris puts on a tour-de-force performance as the East German transgender singer of a rock and roll band. His performance in the show has received rave reviews, an aforementioned Tony win, and a lot of buzz at the theater box office. Most of Harris’ shows are sold out. It’s not known whether or not Andrew Rannells will pull the same kind of following to the production, but we’re willing to give him the benefit of the doubt since he had a very successful run in The Book of Mormon and is more than familiar with his next theater role.
The actor will step in for a limited eight-week engagement which begins on August 20. This isn’t the first time Rannells will play the coveted role. Back in 2001 Andrew played the role in a production in Austin, and he sung “The Origin of Love” at a 2011 holiday concert at Joe’s Pub in New York, so he definitely has a history with the show even though he hasn’t starred in this reinvention of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
[Image via Bing]