Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spring Awakening, or How I'm in love with Mr Sheik

(Duncan Sheik's) Spring Awakening

The one name you need to know about this show is: Duncan Shiek, who's responsible for the music and orchestration (for those of you unlearnéd folks, he's the guy responsible for the hit Barely Breathing, look it up - it's probably on your iTunes)
That said, original cast members Leah Michele and Jonathan Groff were amazing and supported by a spirited and spunky supporting cast, including Blake Bashoff as Moritz.

Because, where else do you see rape, masturbation, homosexuality, revolution, child-beating and suicide treated in a musical setting? Based on the German play of the same name by Frank Wedekind, Steven Sater's book and lyrics treads the fine line between the fatalistic and hopeless tone of the material and the rock-and-roll feel of the music. Telling the story of a group of teenagers whose parents and teachers have kept them in the dark regarding faith and sexuality, Spring Awakening is a wonderful experience, as the audience follows Wendla, Melchior, Ilse and Moritz try and deal with their lives, their bodies, their lusts, their hopes. Melchior puts it best in All That's Known:

All they say
Is “Trust in what is written”
Wars are made
And somehow that is wisdom

Thought is suspect
And money is their idol
And nothing is okay unless it’s scripted in their Bible

But I know
There’s so much more to find
Just in looking through myself, and not at them

There were so many things I loved about this show I don't think I'd be able to list 'em all, but watch me try:
- It's a B*** of a living. Watch it. Love it. Buy it. Listen to it intensely. Over and over again.

- The lighting and set design. So minimal and yet so sophisticated (loved me the blue light that changed the colour of their outfits... even if it was "magic" to the 11 year old behind me); I particularly loved the 'swing-like' staging of the Wendla-Melchior sex scene (yes, it contains partial nudity) and the fact that the show so easily goes from Realism to full-on spectacle, with hand-held mikes that the boys carry in their jacket pockets, that makes the show feel as much of a concert as it is a musical play.
- I love ALL the songs and all the lyrics, but I enjoy the 'Word of your body' song (and its reprise) because it so perfectly captures the way violence and sex mingle in the show:
(From the reprise - the 'boy on boy' version):

Come, cream away the bliss
Travel the world within my lips
Fondle the pearl of your distant dreams
Haven’t you heard the word of your body?

O, you’re gonna be wounded
O, you’re gonna be my wound
O, you’re gonna bruise too
O, I’m gonna be your bruise

Overall Grade: A+


Vance said...

Its Jonathan Groff btw, not Galagher Jr.. he left (and was Moritz) to do Port Authority...

but YAY! you finally saw it! NOW YOU KNOW WHY I'm OBSESSED with the show?

BTW, Im back in town on the 10th to see it again (and I still have an extra ticket with me on the stage... hint hint) the weekend before Lea Michelle and J. Groff leave the show. It'll be my 7th time. only.

Manuel B said...

Edited and fixed.

Jeffrey said...

sheik is spelled wrong in the parentheses. =d i <3 duncan and spring awakening. glad you got to see it.