Coming out as a gay man, it was very much about finding my own identity and dealing with labeling.
Some people end up becoming just a conservator of the one thing they did and making sure they get their merch out and all that.
Growing up, it was uncool to admit that your family had any money. And then, instantly, money was cool. In Reagan's parlance, it was about freedom of the individual, which was freedom to be greedy... individual versus society. There was a weird seduction in that, which I still feel.
I like the fact that it's like The Ramones. You just have to change your name, and you're a Ramone. You just have to put the wig on, and you're Hedwig. Women have played it. Gay men, straight men, you know.
My favorite model of success is when people say, 'Nobody bought that first Velvet Underground album, but everyone who did started a band.'
I did take comfort in the vespers and compline. I might have become a monk if I hadn't come out.
What's interesting is that some of the things I'm interested in talking about is a story which has to do with the second half of your life, which can be told through Hedwig's voice because she's older. If the timeline is consistent, she's as old as me.
I remember seeing a stage version of Plato's 'Symposium' and being really moved because it was written by a man rather than a culture.
I'm all for information diets, which are helpful for the mood and for the art.
We're all weirdly single, middle-aged women with too much money who look to fill the void with too much shopping.
Acceptance and assimilation, you know, breeds mediocrity and perhaps an even more sheep-like conformism in terms of what kind of music you're supposed to listen to if you're gay... What are you supposed to look like? What's your body supposed to look like?
Our feet are planted in the real world, but we dance with angels and ghosts.
I really want as many people as possible to relate to something, without compromising or dumbing down.
I don't like being choreographed to a T. I like to take steps and make them my own.
I've seen things change and people forget: the history of Berlin, the history of queer struggle, the history of AIDS, the history of New York changing from an artistic powerhouse to more of a financial one now.
Bob Fosse, even though he wasn't gay. He was certainly queer and had a huge effect on the 'Hedwig' film, as did Hal Ashby and Robert Altman, who had a weird butch queer feeling about him. His films almost flirted with camp but in an extremely realistic acting way.
'Hedwig' was born in '94. I was thinking of a theater piece; Hedwig was one of the characters.
Drag is a little scary, especially for a gay man who's not comfortable with his feminine side.
I don't regret anything, because I feel better every year, and if I'd done something different, maybe I wouldn't. I'm more of a whole person, the older I get.
Having been an actor in Hollywood for a certain amount of time, I always felt a pressure to be sort of a neutral person. 'Don't do anything to your hair. Don't tell them your age. Don't tell them you're gay. Don't tell them anything that could limit you, specify you as a person.' I always hated that, actually moved out of L.A. because of that.
If I wanted to make a lot of money with 'Hedwig,' I could have spent all my time on it. But that's boring.
Nowadays, the term 'selling out' doesn't exist anymore because everyone is trying to make a living.
The people that were most interesting were always questioning the status quo.
New York is so unique, and you are not always encouraged to consider the people in the city your neighbors because of the fast pace and surface anonymity.
I've obviously always been aware of actor-oriented films, being an actor. Altman and Cassavetes were really strong. And then I realized their structures were quite fascinating, too.
I think as far as themes, 'Hedwig' is about what music meant to you as a kid and how rock n' roll can save you; that is definitely part of it.
I went to a very small Catholic school. It wasn't an easy place to be growing up gay.
I certainly wanted Hedwig's world to be one where identification and categories are fluid, changing, and confusing, as they are, really, in life.
I actually came out the year that AIDS hit the front pages. So there was this mixed feeling about it - excitement that life's finally begun, but it was completely tied up with mortality and danger and politics.
Drag wasn't really on Broadway. It was considered low-class.
I guess historically, drag queens were imitating movie stars and luminaries. It's kind of nice to have a movie star imitating a drag queen.
Doing 'Hedwig' was so hard that I kind of burned out on acting.
If you go for the money first and try to think of what other people want to see, you change your original inspiration and perhaps put out something that's less original and less personal and maybe less satisfying.
People know what 'Hedwig' is now, and that's wonderful. It's not the same as being swamped for being on 'The Big Bang Theory,' but it's much more comfortable.
The first rock stars were incredibly theatrical. Little Richard and Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley - they were theater artists.
I sometimes buy albums that I don't like now, but that I know I will like. Coming out was the same thing. In high school, I thought, 'I know I'm going to have to deal with this, but I'm not confident enough now.' But when I finally did, my whole life changed.
Doing 'Hedwig' totally contributed to my acceptance of myself.
Some people go off to an ashram or they, you know, have a midlife crisis and buy a sports car. For me, I do 'Hedwig,' and I see it's a midlife crisis maybe, and I see what's next. And it's a good trampoline, maybe, into the next part of my life.
I realized that theater was the perfect thing for me, in short bursts of intense community building.
As you get older, you treasure the beautiful things of the past but also see things more clearly.
Humor without sadness underneath it feels cheap and aggressive.