Hedwig Robinson’s shimmering golden boots and flowing blond mane have arrived in the hands of her newest portrayer.
PEOPLE, in a joint exclusive look with Entertainment Weekly, has the first photos of Taye Diggs as the titular character, a troubled transgender rocker from East Berlin, in the glittering Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
In a profile of Diggs on the brink of his Hedwig debut, The New York Times reports that Diggs had hoped to appear as Hedwig for many years. “But I didn’t think it would ever happen,” Diggs tells the newspaper. “I assumed that nobody would ever have the open-mindedness to cast this character black.”
Now that he has taken over the part, Diggs is making the most of his turn on the Great White Way. “[The role is] everything I’ve ever wished for,” Diggs notes. “This is me telling myself, ‘O.K….put your money where your mouth is. You’ve been telling agents and your best friends – I told [ex-wife] Idina [Menzel] – ‘I want a chance to show everybody everything. I can dance and I can sing, and everybody knows I can act.’ ”
The demanding role of Hedwig has been passed from celebrity to celebrity since the show, which won the Tony Award for best revival of a musical, opened in 2014. Neil Patrick Harris opened the show on Broadway and nabbed a Tony for it. Since Harris left the production, Andrew Rannells, Michael C. Hall, co-creator John Cameron Mitchell (who originated the role Off-Broadway in 1998) and Darren Criss have channeled the titular diva.
Outside of the theater, Diggs has starred in movies such as Chicago and television shows including Private Practice. He shares son Walker with Menzel, whom he met during their time in Broadway’s Rent.