Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring Awakening non-Equity national tour

Many people assume, not unreasonably, that my favorite musical is Spring Awakening. I've certainly seen it a ridiculous number of times--way more than I've seen anything else--and I love it a ridiculous amount. I still listen to the cast recording often. I've followed some of the actors to their new projects. Yes, I'm a huge Spring Awakening fan, but it's not my favorite musical and I certainly don't think it's the best musical ever (hello, Sondheim!). I do love the show, but I'm not blind to its many faults. It's clear that I've seen it for the last time, and I'm ok letting it go.

About three and a half years after seeing Spring Awakening on Broadway for the first time (two and a quarter since it closed) and almost two years since seeing it in Boston during its first national (Equity) tour, I finally saw it again last weekend. It was the second national (non-Equity) tour, in New Haven. There were apparently no understudies on, which is good because I don't know anything about the current cast, including their names. After seeing the show, I don't think I'll be bothering to learn them, but you can find the cast list here.

Can we all just agree that Steven Sater's dialogue here must be the worst for any show that has won a Tony Award for best book? (Suffering through it all again really makes me love American Idiot's dearth of dialogue even more. Michael Mayer, who directed both musicals, obviously learned his lesson!)

On the astonishingly positive side, this performance was the only time the beating scene EVER worked in any cast I've seen, Broadway or tour. The way Wendla breathed/gasped through the pauses in the whole never-felt-anything bit made up for so much awkward writing. How did no one ever think to do this before? Major kudos, kids (and/or whoever took over for Mayer in directing the tour).

Overall, sitting on stage was a terrible idea for me. I'm very glad I didn't pay more to see it (stage seats are cheap because they're partial view and awesome because the cast sings while sitting next to you), but I was in danger of being terribly rude and laughing my face off at the most inappropriate times. I didn't, but it was supremely awkward. Unfortunately, holding that in meant I didn't laugh at all because everything else ceased being funny several viewings ago.

Below the jump are my Twitteresque responses to everything else. They will only make sense if you've seen the show. Sorry. The performance just filled me with inertia and I can't face writing a real review (which would end up being twice as long as my Idiot post was, and no one wants that).

A 5 p.m. show? Really? Random and awkward.
Wow. So weird sitting onstage again. And with the rearranged seating.
Adult Women understudy is also company manager and seats the audience onstage? Odd.
They lined up the swings in with the onstage audience before seating us.
Holy crap, everyone is SO young. That's really cool for the story.
Ginger Ilse is fantastic. Best performance of the show.
Baby Moritz sounds really good except when he screams instead of singing. That was not good.
Moritz was beautifully heartbreaking in the "failed" scenes.
Melchior's pretty good. Hit a really, really off note though. His acting is better than his singing overall.
Melchior and Moritz had good friend chemistry.
Melchior seemed to be having a good time getting down. It didn't seem rehearsed or mechanical. He seemed to be in awe. Good job.
Otto was really, really bad a lot of the time. Tone it down, boy.
But not as bad as Hanschen. Holy crap. Just. so. bad. Nice singing voice, though. And he was a bit better as the reformatory boy.
The boy-kiss scene was really bad because Hanschen was so bad. :(
Melchior's graveyard scene was really excellent. (Remember when Groff used to go No-Ho-Ho-Ho? Yeah, much better than that.)
Melchi blew the last note of the show, though, which was really sad.
I liked Thea a lot. Her dancing was great. And her line deliveries were so, so good.
Marta's singing was bloody awful. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. My tone-deaf friend knew it was bad. No joke.
Georg was good. His hairstyle is the worst of anyone in the show ever. Poor guy. (Yes, worse than the sausage curls.)
Adult Men was good overall.
Adult Women was great as Melchi's mom and terrible as everything else. Terrible.
Stage-right ensemble chick should brush her hair before coming on. I know she'll mess it up rocking out, but still.
The interaction with the onstage audience was way ramped up. Melchi jumping up on a stage-right chair and getting in someone's face surprised the hell out of me. Well done.
The songs I usually love were a little blah for me. I was surprised that Don't Do Sadness/Blue Wind was my favorite this time. By far. (I usually prefer Touch Me and The Bitch of Living.)
Mirror Blue Night is ridiculous without the platform rising. The choreography is odd enough even with the original staging, but without it's the dumbest thing ever.
It was nice to hear Anna say "But we're your friends" and actually believe her. Much better than the first national tour.
I could have lived without all the solo and duet songs, really, but when they all sang together the cast sounded fantastic. God, I love Duncan Sheik's music in this show.
Sitting in front of the strings was amazing. So gorgeous.


  1. midnight
    not a sound from the pavement
    has the moon lost her memory?

  2. No one misses Santa Groff.