Neil Patrick Harris might be best known as Barney Stinson, the legendary playboy from ‘How I Met Your Mother’, but currently the actor is reinventing himself on Broadway as the lead in Hedwig and the Angry Itch. You might have tales stories of him swearing at an audience member, but that was far from the really story to come out of the show’s opening week. Harris is earning rave reviews in the musical which, whilst being anything but traditional, is currently rocking up a storm on Broadway.

Neil Patrick Harris Hedwig and the Angry Itch after partyNeil Patrick Harris at the Hedwig and the Angry Itch opening night after party

If you’re not familiar with Hedwig and the Angry Itch, some background information is definitely necessary. With music and lyrics by Stephen Trask, Hedwig and the Angry Itch made its off-Broadway debut in 1998. Taking influence from the 70’s glam rock era and its large than life stars, such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop. The musical tells the story of Hedwig, an East German transsexual who after suffering a botched sex change operation, goes on to front a rock band, named The Angry Itch. The musical’s initial off-Broadway run lasted for 857 performances and it would go on to be staged all over the world, including in London’s West End and even as far afield a Brazil. In 2001 actor John Cameron Mitchell brought Hedwig to the big screen, acting and directing in the film adaptation. For his performance in the lead role Mitchell was nominated for the Golden Globe award for best actor in a musical or comedy.

For Neil Patrick Harris, who is giving Hedwig her first Broadway outing, the role could mark another turing point in the actor’s career. In the past decade, Harris has gone from being best remember as the precocious would-be doctor Doogie Howser on early nineties series 'Doogie Howser M.D', to having a complete television reinvention as Barney Stinson on ‘How I Met Your Mother.’ However, the role of the transexual rock singer might have posed Harris his greatest challenge yet, both personally and professionally. The openly gay actor admitted to Out magazine last month that "Hedwig is bringing up a lot of super insecure things within me,” also adding that the idea of drag had never been something that had appealed to him.

Neil patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Itch Harris on stage as Hedgwig

If the reviews are anything to go by, it seems that Harris has conquered any insecurities he might have had and is giving the performance of a lifetime. As The Hollywood Reporter writes, “Harris is beyond fabulous, holds nothing back and plays it any way but safe in Michael Mayer's exhilarating production”. Variety echoes the same sentiments in their review, saying it was “astonishing how polished a physical performance Harris gives”, and adding that the actor manages to “integrate about 30 years of rock musical styles”, which isn't easy. Perhaps the most complimentary assessment of Harris came from Ben Brantley writing in The New York Times, who said, “Harris is in full command of who he is and, most excitingly, what he has become with this performance. That's a bona fide Broadway star, the kind who can rule an audience with the blink of a sequinned eyelid."

By all accounts Hedwig and the Angry Itch seems a triumph for everyone involved, especially Neil Patrick Harris. Harris has always been one of television best acting talents, but twice in his career he has played roles which were so memorable he’s been at risk of never escaping them. His Broadway success will hopefully mean that Harris’s career will continue to flourish now that ‘How I Met Your Mother’ has taken it’s final bow. After Hedwig and the Angry Itch, he’s certainly proven that his talents can stretch way beyond the confinements of television sitcoms.

More: Neil Patrick Harris Rants At Fan During 'Hedwig' Show, But Was In Character The Whole Time

More: Forget The Swearing, Neil Patrick Harris' 'Hedwig And The Angry Inch' Is A Soaring Success

The cast of Hedwig and the Angry ItchThe cast of Hedwig and the Angry Itch take their bows