Hedwig meets Jughead? Even with today’s anything-goes, mash-up approach to pop culture, nobody saw this one coming. The frothy CW series Riverdale will build its annual musical episode around Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the stage production that premiered back in 1998 with its rousing tale of a genderqueer East German glam rocker.
Hedwig, the rock musical that featured the music and lyrics of Stephen Trask and book by John Cameron Mitchell, will be the core story component in the April 8 episode of Riverdale, the CW series based on classic Archie Comics characters.
The episode description from Riverdale producers: “After the previous debacles of Carrie and Heathers, Kevin Keller has decided to revive Riverdale High’s tradition of hosting a Variety Show! But when Mr. Honey forbids him from performing a number from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Kevin and our gang rallies against their principal—by each performing a number from Hedwig, turning the Variety Show into a full-fledged musical that, as always, reflects our characters’ inner lives and struggles. And amidst all the drama, one forbidden “showmance” begins to blossom… ”
The concept for the episode started with a mutual admiration society. It turns out that Trask is a fan of Riverdale and the producers of the show are Hedwig devotees of the highest order.
“Musical episodes have become a yearly tradition on ‘Riverdale,’ but this year, we wanted to try something different,” said Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, “When we heard that Stephen Trask was a fan of Riverdale, we thought—is there a way we can do ‘Hedwig’ and still have it tie into the stories we’re telling? Doing a deep dive, we figured out a cool way to use classic songs like Wicked Little Town and Midnight Radio that made total sense and are just amazing and iconic. And bonus, Hedwig is literally Cole’s favorite musical!”