Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Spring Awakening (The SOB Revisit)

Spring Awakening (The SOB Revisit) - Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota

***1/2 (out of ****)

While I'm not quite sure what's going on over on the other side of the pond, I can tell you that the current North American tour of Spring Awakening, stylishly directed yet again by Michael Mayer, has not lost anything from its original Broadway translation.

Yes, the kids are alright. It's just the adults who are truly suspect.

In my first revisit to the Best Musical of 2007 since seeing the show earlier that same year, I was struck this time by the severe oppression of the so-called parentocracy. Yes, I realize it was there all along. But upon my second viewing, it became clear that there's a full-blown revolution fomenting beneath the surface as the pearls of distant dreams are manhandled into an anachronistic reality.

Electrifying as ever, and charged with every conceivable teenage angst possible including suicide, premarital sex, incest, homosexuality and abortion liberally sprinkled throughout (never mind the self abuse and dash of S&M), this musical is far from the frothy fare of tuners of years gone by that parents may actually prefer their children see. Yet, after squirming in my seat, somewhat embarrassed for the elderly couple sitting next to me, I was surprised when one of them said he thought it was good. Perhaps I was simply feeling some of that shame that Spring Awakening is so annoyingly hell-bent on defiantly putting to the test.

As mentioned at the outset, for a touring production, this matches its earlier Broadway incarnation. In fact, with the excellent performances by Kyle Riabko (Melchior) and Blake Bashoff (Moritz), who come directly from the Great White Way for the tour, this Spring Awakening is every bit as powerful and provocative as the original.

Now if I could only shake the old fogey feeling it gave me.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 07 February, 2009, Blogger Esther said...

I'm glad to hear that the "Spring Awakening" tour is in such good shape. I'm looking forward to seeing it. The bar's been set pretty high for me with John Gallagher Jr., Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele.


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