I generally don’t watch new musicals because some of them tend to be really really bad. I sat through a new opera once that not only made no sense, but had horrible music. It was, unfortunately, written by a fairly famous composer.
So I went in to Spring Awakening with a bit of trepidation.
The story is based on a book called Spring Awakening: A Children’s Tragedy, a fact that I did not know when I went to see this. The music is by Duncan Sheik. The story is set in 1891 Germany, but the music is modern.
The story deals with teenagers, about teenage sex, homosexuality, the pressures of success, and suicide, all things that still pertain to us today. The music is strong and the acting superb. The subject is not for the faint hearted, however. People who don’t like L&O:SVO will definitely not like this musical. I should also mention that there’s a bit of booby and man-butt, so the prudish amongst you should turn away during that scene.
This particular cast played it with such enthusiasm that I bought the original Broadway recording.
This musical’s original cast included Lea Michelle and Jonathan Groff (who people will know as Rachelle and Jesse St. James from Glee). Usually, the original cast is always ten times better than any other cast that comes after it. But perhaps it’s because the actors preferred to play the characters differently than the original cast, or perhaps the musical eventually grew into it’s own after the recording, but the traveling cast that I saw was much better than the Broadway cast. The Broadway cast seem to be more melancholy than anything, whereas the traveling cast seem to have more nuances in their performance.
In any case, I suggest you go see this musical if you have a chance. It’s definitely one worth seeing.