Theater: Anatomy of a Drag Queen

She's been unlucky in love and on the surgeon's table. But now Hedwig has an off-Broadway hit

When Hedwig was still called Hansel, a sexually confused "girly boy" growing up in communist East Berlin, he used to listen to American rock 'n' roll in the only place he could find privacy: sticking his head in the family oven. Later an American serviceman arranged for a sex-change operation (a botched one, leaving just an "angry inch" of scar tissue) so the two could marry and emigrate to America. Hedwig wound up in a trailer park in Kansas, where her G.I. abandoned her. Then she met Tommy Gnosis, a rock singer whom she helped turn into a superstar, but not...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!