If I was given six words of advice to impart upon my reading audience, they would be, “See ‘Spring Awakening‘ while it’s here.” The show is flitting through Atlanta only to leave us on Sunday, March 14, so get to The Fox before it’s too late.
“Spring Awakening” won 8 (EIGHT) Tony Awards in 2007, including Best Musical, but, falling victim to the recession, shut its doors on Broadway in January of 2009.
However, much like the characters in the show, “Spring Awakening” continues to live on and thrive – in this circumstance, on an incredible whirlwind tour that takes the energetic cast everywhere from Washington state to the Florida panhandle. All the while, the cast and crew/support track their journey on the innovative blog “Totally TRUCKED!,” a spin on the song “Totally Fucked” from the show. Yes, it goes there.
Speaking of “It Goes There,” there was slight disappointment in missing Degrassi’s “Craig” (Jake Epstein) perform as Melchior in “Spring” at last night’s opening performance. What up, dude? His understudy, Matt Shingledecker, did an admirable job, but Epstein was notably absent.
Nevertheless, the cast (including the haunting Christy Altomare as Wendla and the superstar Taylor Trensch as Moritz) did not fail to impress. They rocked the show to the rafters of The Fox (difficult in a theater of that size, especially given that the show hardly has a set) and received an incredible standing ovation.
Now, down to brass tacks – let’s get to the meat of this show. Putting it lightly, “Spring Awakening” ain’t for little ones. Don’t bring your little sister, your child, or your grandmother (unless she’s cool, like mine, and lives in Little 5 Points). But for those who are not faint of heart, the messages in “Spring Awakening” are unforgettable and vital, the music is a flawless blend of beauty, rhythm, and poetry, and the talented cast is Broadway-caliber. None of these kids can possibly be older than 23, yet they tirelessly churn out amazing performances in every city. Atlanta was no exception.
The plot: simply put, 1890’s German teens discover sex. I mean, we could get into details, but let’s not ruin the show. It’s tragic, dramatic, shocking, touching, and mind-altering. The incredible soundtrack was written by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, and the songs, although written with 2000’s lyrics, fit perfectly in line with the 19th-century plot line. Take a moment to check out “The Bitch of Living” music video that was originally produced for the Broadway version.
“Spring Awakening” is nothing if not unique, and although I don’t recommend it for all ages, I insist anyone who has ever had sex, wanted sex, felt unheard, been in the depths of depression, felt lost, been hurt, masturbated, been in that rip-your-heart-out kind of teenage love, needed hope, lost a loved one, or struggled with raising a teenager see this show. Parents, bring your teens (you’ll cringe, but it’s worth the discussion that will follow). Teens, bring your parents. College kids, bring your weed. Okay, don’t do that – The Fox doesn’t allow it.
But the idea of “Spring Awakening” is an experience every person needs to have to fully understand the struggles of themselves and others, and realize that none of us are truly alone. We all need love, we all need freedom, and we all need each other.
Go see this show.
(TRIVIA: Yes, Broadway’s original Wendla, as you’ll see in this video, was played by Lea Michele, now of “Glee” fame.)