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John Cameron Mitchell Finds Joy in Mavis Staples and ‘Veneno’

On the eve of concerts celebrating “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” the writer and performer also shares why “The Gnostic Gospels” feeds his soul.

“I haven’t had such a good role since Hedwig,” John Cameron Mitchell said.

He was talking about Joe Exotic of “Tiger King” fame — and comparing the chance to play him with “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” his 1998 rock musical and 2001 movie about a genderqueer East German singer stranded in Kansas after a botched sex-change operation.

That tale, rapturous and raunchy, still reverberates, with people outside a West Village cafe slowing to gawk or offer up praise as Mitchell elaborated on his cultural essentials recently.

At the end of the month, he and his “Hedwig” co-creator, Stephen Trask, will reunite for two nights in “Return to the Origin of Love” at the Town Hall in Manhattan. Billed as a New Year’s catharsis with a heaping serving of debauchery, the show melds songs and stories about the making of “Hedwig” with newer material like “Nation of One,” the duo’s first song in 20 years and part of Mitchell’s lockdown album “New American Dream.”

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