Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Theater review: Spring Awakening

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 10:36 PM

Theater review: Spring Awakening

Belk Theater

Feb. 9, 2010

The Deal: Broadway musical Spring Awakening – created by Steven Sater and musician Duncan Sheik (Think: “Barely Breathing”) and based off of the controversial German expressionist play written in 1891 by Frank Wedekind – brings a riff roaring good time to Belk Theater, during its opening night performance.

The Good: With catchy rock numbers, the musical version of Spring Awakening makes the play's subject matter a little less grim and a lot more bearable. Revolving around the plague of puberty it tackles everything from moral dilemmas, sexuality, abuse, suicide, abortion, death and more, for an intense drama overload. The music numbers were played by a band that lingered in the background on stage throughout the entirety of the show.

Favorite songs were the harsh and upbeat “The Bitch of Living,” the sullen and soulful “The Dark I Know Well,” the bouncy flipper offer “Totally Fucked,” as well as the grand finale “The Song of Purple Summer,” among others.

The sparkling stars of the play who did top-notch performances of their painful adolescent roles, included lovers, Melchoir, played by standby/understudy Matt Shingledecker and the innocent Wendla, played by the lovely Christy Altomare, as well as the sly and horny Hanschen played Andy Meintus (He’s also quite the doppelgänger to Harry Potter’s Drako Malfoy aka actor Tom Felton) and the joyful Andy Ernst played by Ben Fankhauser. The hair-raising, suicide route taker Moritz, played by Taylor Trensch was no let down. He could probably even wind up fronting an emo band with the vocals he let loose.

Surprises included Hanschen’s masterbation episode and Melchoir’s bare butt shining not just before intermission, but afterwards too. Ooh la la.

The Bad: Not much. It really is a cool show. Of course, taking young ones to this could be devastating, unless that is, you don’t mind them quickly learning how to shoot the bird or say some curse words. Also, the touchy subject matter in Spring Awakening makes this ultimately a show for adults and mature teens only.

The Verdict: Spring Awakening is a sizzling new musical looming with passion. Sheik’s songs radiate and it’s no wonder he picked up numerous Tony Award's for his efforts in this musical creation. Long after leaving the show, I found myself humming some the fresh tunes it left in my head. In fact, I still am. Don’t skip seeing this one. Shows continue through Feb. 7 at Belk Theater. For more information, click here.

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