Post April Show Review: Spring Awakening
Happy Spring! In honor of the season, I have decided to review Spring Awakening this month. The musical was based on an 1891 German play of the same name, which was banned for its exploration of controversial topics (sex, homosexuality, child abuse, suicide, and abortion). The musical also explores these issues, but with rock music!
Basically Spring Awakening is a coming of age story that shows how detrimental adult behavior can be towards adolescents. The tension between the teens and the adults of the show is even represented in the casting. Each teen character is represented by a different actor, but there are only two actors, a man and a woman, to play all of the adults (parents, teachers, doctors, etc) in the show. The implied message is that all adults are the same; they don’t try to understand the teens or to help the teens understand the darker issues of the world.
Here’s a video of the cast performing at the Tony Awards, where they won 8 awards including Best Musical. (Note how they cover their mouths at points during the last song. They are just censoring the language for the purposes of the Tony broadcast. The song is called “Totally F*cked.”)
Do you notice the people sitting in risers on the sides of the stage? Every performance some audience members get to sit onstage. I was one such lucky audience member. Unfortunately, I get very emotionally involved in shows, so I had to keep fighting the urge to comfort the characters who were upset. Thankfully, I went with a friend who was fully prepared to stop me from touching the actors.
If you read my last post, you’ll know that one of my favorite musical theater songs comes from this show. I loved the character of Moritz, and I absolutely wanted to run on stage and stop him when he (SPOILER ALERT) kills himself right after this song:
Spring Awakening actually launched many careers. The actors who played the two main characters, Lea Michelle and Jonathan Groff, starred/appeared (respectively) on Glee. John Gallagher Jr., who won a Tony for his work in Spring Awakening, went on to appear in Rabbit Hole, American Idiot, and now the HBO show The Newsroom. Skylar Astin recently played opposite Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect. He also played Mark in the Neil Patrick Harris Hollywood Bowl production of Rent.
So how are you guys feeling about these reviews? Are there any shows you’d like me to talk about? I love musical theater, but I’m going to try to throw in some more straight plays for you!