Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a rock musical about a fictional rock and roll band fronted by a genderqueer East German singer named Hedwig. Hedwig, formerly Hansel, assumes a female persona after a botched sex change operation which was performed to allow her to marry an American man and escape East Germany. The book is by John Cameron Mitchell, and the music and lyrics are by Stephen Trask.
The story draws on Mitchell’s life as the son of a U.S. Army Major General who once commanded the U.S. sector of occupied West Berlin. The character of Hedwig was inspired by a German divorced U.S. Army wife who was a Mitchell family babysitter and moonlighted as a prostitute at her Junction City, Kansas, trailer park home.
The music is steeped in the androgynous 1970s glam rock style of David Bowie (who co-produced the Los Angeles production of the show), as well as the work of John Lennon and early punk performers Lou Reed and Iggy Pop.