"Spring Awakening" is one of those rare, much-anticipated musicals that arrives in town with a good head of already built-up steam. Steamy, but thoughtfully so, this Tony-winning show (Best Musical, 2007) depicts teenagehood in a way few works have: very raw, with a current of erotic charge and naked-to-the-world honesty. And wicked tunes, too.
Consider that the 1891 German tale "Spring Awakening" is based on was banned for decades. But don't automatically think "1891" and spy photos of the cast clad in conservative dress and assume there's nothing provocative or challenging on offer. Also consider the title -- consider teenagers throughout time -- consider that pop heartthrob Duncan Sheik is one of the visionaries behind the production (the "Barely Breathing" singer/songwriter wrote the music). Steamy. All that said, it is not a show about teens solely for grown-ups. Adults and teenagers alike have raved about the show, buying tickets for multiple performances (note that some parents saw it first, and then returned with their adolescents later).
We knew this was a show we must see when an out-of-state friend called us, excitedly extolling the wonders of the musical. When did you see it, we asked her. I haven't, she admitted. But she had heard the music, read the reviews and been swept up in that fizzy feeling audiences on Broadway were experiencing, despite the fact that she was thousands of miles from the Great White Way. Now that is one huge head of steam.
October 29-December 7
The Ahmansen, 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles