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Neil Patrick Harris: Actor claims he was ‘in character’ when yelling at fan

Actor Neil Patrick Harris attends the 2014 The New York Philharmonic Spring Gala featuring 'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' at Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center on March 5, 2014 in New York City.
(Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Neil Patrick Harris may have added another element to his Hedwig character. According to the New York Daily News on April 21, the Broadway star of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” says his outburst at a fan during Saturday’s performance was not him yelling, but an improvisation of the character.

Lots of things can go wrong during a live performance for any actor, but when a fan yelled out from the audience during the show, Harris seemed to have lost his focus and cool. According to a rep of Harris, “the response to the fan yelling was actually done in character. Neil as Hedwig, (it’s) not as though Neil stopped the show to respond out of character.”

In the show Harris plays a transgender German punk rocker, which he has admitted brought back some internal homophobic insecurity relating to gender identity. But still Harris took on the role as a challenge to himself in a show centered on improvisation and audience interaction. When the fan yelled out “I love you, Neil,” he claims he stayed in character by reaction as Hedwig would in that situation. The “How I Met Your Mother” tweeted on Sunday, “It seems my Hedwig improvs are making news, but one should have the full story/context.”

With any luck, the drama surrounding the performance may bring some more attention to the show, which opens April 22nd at the Belasco Theater in its first Broadway production. Known for its blurred sexuality and elements of rock & roll, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” was written by John Cameron Mitchell and is about an outcast born in East Germany and suffers a botched sex change. The hilarious memoir follows the main character, played by Harris, as she finds love, experiences heartbreak, and becomes a star based on songs created with her former lover.