Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spring Awakening Lights it Up

Jacob Matsumiya, Center Scene's guest blogger, is back with his review of Spring Awakening. Glee fans may be able to figure out Jacob's inspiration for his review. Spring Awakening continues through Sunday, November 29.

Jacob writes:

“We light a candle and hope that it glows…”

Emanating from the stage last night was a mixture of exuberant joy, an illuminating spectrum of bright lights, and pangs of pure sadness. Yup. Spring Awakening has finally arrived.

Based on Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play, Spring Awakening is a musical that combines the universal and timeless emotions of youth with modern musical sensibility. The result is nothing short of pure genius.

Had the creative team updated Wedekind’s play to modern times, though the themes might have resonated, the plot would have seemed out-of-place. Had they styled the music to be of the 1890’s time period it would have felt distant. But in fusing together the groundbreaking play (which has lost none of its relevance nearly 100 years later) with music that speaks to today’s youth they have crafted Spring Awakening to truly convey and express the dreadful desires and frustrations of youth. All of us have experienced the intense emotions associated with first loves, self-discovery, repression, denial, abuse, or rejection. The score of Spring Awakening so wonderfully and poignantly captures these emotions through the magic of musical theater.

In musical theater, when a character has no other way of expressing their emotion they begin to sing. Songs have the ability to say things we can’t, shouldn’t, or don’t know how to say. It fulfills that burning need in all of us to express something so powerful that it gnaws at the very fiber of our being. The characters in Spring Awakening do so with such brilliant accuracy that one can’t help but be moved. For me Spring Awakening is pure joy and pure sadness. The exuberance of youth personified mixed with the utter sadness that can haunt us all. It is the very essence of classic musical theater storytelling. Like the characters that inhabit it, Spring Awakening is dying to share with you its wisdom, if you only open yourself up to hear it. It dares to shed light on the darkness of emotions repressed. And I applaud them for their sheer tenacity and brilliance.

Bravo to the cast, crew, and creators of Spring Awakening. Your candle is still very much burning brightly some 3,000 miles from Broadway.

(Photo: Christy Altomare and Jake Epstein by Joan Marcus )

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