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Listen: How John Cameron Mitchell’s New Podcast Fits Into the Mitchellverse

John Cameron Mitchell
Matthew Placek

For a while now, the writer-director-performer John Cameron Mitchell has been dropping hints that he’s working on a sequel to his fan-favorite musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Guess what? He’s already written it, and you can listen to it right now.

Listen to this week’s podcast below:

Although as his starry new musical podcast series “Anthem: Homunculus” turned out, it’s less of a sequel to “Hedwig” and more in the style of it, with references throughout that suggest in-world connections to his prior work. “I wanted to investigate some stuff about my life and [at first] Hedwig seemed like a convenient mouthpiece,” explained Mitchell on the latest episode of Stagecraft, Variety’s theater podcast. “But her whole story was so much baggage, and mine was baggage, so it was like putting a hat on a hat, or a wig on a wig. Which I’ve done before.”

Mitchell first wrote “Homunculus” for TV, and didn’t originally imagine it as a podcast. But now he thinks of audio musicals as a genuinely viable form for artists: “If I was making ‘Hedwig’ now I might actually consider doing it as a podcast series,” he said. “Economics of Off Broadway have changed, so it might be prohibitive to do it the way we did it before.”

He envisions “Anthem,” now available on the new streaming platform Luminary, as an anthology series that will see an entirely different roster of artists create work for each season. On Stagecraft, he also delved into the production process (including voice memos texted to him by Patti LuPone), explained the autobiographical roots of “Homunculus” and revealed that he invented the gay hookup app Grindr, sort of.

New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on Apple PodcastsStitcher or anywhere finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.