For anyone who knows me, they will know my favourite musicals are Kinky Boots and Hedwig and the Angry Inch and these two shows have one thing in common – actress and singer Lena Hall. Hall, who won a Tony award in 2014 for her portrayal of Yitzhak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, also played Nicola in the original Broadway cast of Kinky Boots and is featured on the Broadway soundtracks of both musicals. Hall played Yitzhak until early 2015 on Broadway and then went back to play the role opposite Darren Criss in the San Francisco and Los Angeles run of the Hedwig and the Angry Inch tour – oh yes and she also played Hedwig on the tour (making her the first person to ever play both roles in the same run).
Whilst I have yet to have to been lucky enough to see Hall perform live, I devour every video or audio performance I can lay my hands on, and so when Hall announced that there would be a new EP released each month in 2018, I could have cried with joy.
Last year Hall released a “Stripped” series on her YouTube channel where she covered some of her favourite songs in a stripped back semi-acoustic style with the help of Tits of Clay’s Justin Craig, and week after week I was blown away by the power and beauty in her voice, and I have lost count of the number of times I have watched these videos.
The new EP series, which is titled Obsessed followed in a similar vein, with Hall concentrating on one artist each month to celebrate her favourite singers and songs.
And of course, she started off as she meant to carry on with Obsessed Hedwig where she covered some of the best songs from the show which helped propel her into the stratosphere. There is not a bad track on the EP and I couldn’t tell you which one was my favourite. Each EP is joined by accompanying videos of her performing the songs and between these videos and the EPs Lena Hall is a massive part of the soundtrack of my life. Add to this that her backing band for the EPs consists of Justin Craig and Matt Duncan who were two of Tits of Clay for the Broadway run and US tour of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and the Hedhead in me was over the moon. I shared my thoughts on the first EP here.
February saw Hall cover her favourite Peter Gabriel songs on Obsessed Peter Gabriel, and what is amazing about this series of EPs is that Hall is introducing people to artists they might not have necessarily known that much about. I loved that I was able to introduce my dad (who is a massive Peter Gabriel fan) to Lena Hall and he was converted and it is amazing that I can share my love of Lena Hall’s music with him. I just wish I could hear “Solsbury Hill” sung by Hall as it is one of my favourite Gabriel songs.
March’s choice of EP again had me jumping for joy when Hall teased the EP cover and it was obvious it was going to be the turn of Elton John to get the Lena Hall treatment! And the tracks she chose to cover for Obsessed Elton John were a really interesting mix of well known and less well known Elton John songs. At this rate by the end of the year my Spotify most played will be purely Lena Hall and showtunes.
As well as the EPs and the YouTube videos that accompany the EPs, Hall has also done a couple of live gigs to celebrate each EP and the videos of Hall singing “Midnight Radio” accompanied by Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell were just pure joy to watch.
I can’t wait to see who else Hall will cover as 2018 continues, but I can’t help but hope for an EP of David Bowie covers as Hall’s stripped back version of “Life on Mars” last year was beautiful, as were the concerts she did with her ex-wife Michael C. Hall.
So if anyone is looking to widen their musical horizons in 2018, trust me when I tell you that listening to Lena Hall’s Obsessed EPs will be the best thing you could possibly do. The albums are available to download or stream from the Obsessed website, or you can go search for Lena Hall on Apple Music and Spotify
Check out my favourite song from each of the EPs below.
Kirsty has been writing in secret ever since High School however has recently decided to share her ramblings with the world.When not writing about all things culture especially Doctor Who, Glee, Literature and Theatre especially musicals such as Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Kinky Boots; she can be found working as a Personal Assistant and Administrator.
She spends way too much time on Twitter talking about all her favourite things , however as her father points out at least she is surrounded by friends!!Kirsty also enjoys travelling with the UK and wider afield.