Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009

Spring Awakening Arrives In October

By Russ Bickerstaff
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It’s not often that I find myself looking forward to the arrival of a touring Broadway Musical. I’d first read about Spring Awakening when I’d found out that it was coming to the Marcus Center in a series that included shows like Legally Blonde and Wicked. In comparison to nearly everything else on the schedule of touring Broadway shows, Spring Awakening actually looks good.

Here’s a quick glance:



Knowing little else about the show, I was surprised at the how different it looked from everything else. Bits of standard Broadway musical fare find a place alongside some interesting pop music video material. Looking into the show a bit further, I found out that there’s actually some emotional depth to the material. The show’s based on a German play from 1891 that was so controversial that it didn’t even get staged until 1906. The story of German students beginning to discover their sexuality was understandably taboo in a pre World War One Germany. It was subsequently staged in English in New York in 1917 . . . only to be shut down after one performance due to the assertion that it was “pornography.”

The Michael Meyer musical adaptation of the play met with success when it was originally run in New York at a relatively small 165-seat theatre. When talk turned to the possibility of bringing Meyer’s Spring Awakening musical to Broadway, he was concerned. “I begged them not to do it,” he says in the show’s recently-posted press kit. “I said, ‘Please don’t take the show to Broadway, because they’ll kill it.’ Spring Awakening is not a typical Broadway musical in any sense, and I did not think that Broadway was going to embrace the show.”

To Meyer’s surprise, the show’s Broadway producers were excited at the opportunity to work with far edgier material than the type of stuff normally found on Broadway. In the end, Meyer was really happy with what a Broadway-level production could do with his material. It may not be the kind of theatre that usually haunts the Marcus Center and it may not be anywhere near as compelling as some of the shows making it to some of the more intimate venues in town thanks to smaller, hard-working indigenous theatre companies, but this is one that I’m kind of looking forward to . . .

Spring Awakening comes to the Marcus Center October 6th - 11th.

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