Tuesday night the Tony Award winning Broadway musical, Spring Awakening, opened it’s Detroit run at the Fisher Theatre.
Set against the backdrop of a repressive and provincial late 19th century Germany, Spring Awakening tells the timeless story of teenage self-discovery and budding sexuality as seen through the eyes of three teens.
The musical tackles a number of controversial issues including rape, masturbation, abortion, rape, child abuse and suicide.
The drama was originally written in 1891 but the story is still relevant today.
Spring Awakening is meant to be a cautionary tale about how dangerous it can be when the adults in the teen’s lives decide what they should and shouldn’t be taught and the dangers of exerting too much control.
The musical is built around four teens: the intellectual Melchior (Jake Epstein), the naive Wendla (Christy Altomare) the nerdy outcast Moritz (Taylor Trensch) and the sexually abused Ilse (Steffi D).
Melchior is determined to learn the inner workings of life, love and sex and finds himself drawn to Wendla, who, thanks to the fact that her mother is uncomfortable sharing, is unaware of the facts of life. Due to her ignorance, Wendla finds herself pregnant.
Meanwhile, Moritz is bullied by the adults in his life to the point that he ends up committing suicide to escape.
Through all of this, Ilse is trying to help her friends while trying to get them to see what she herself is going through.
Unfortunately, there are so many different things going on that at times the show seems a bit contrived and tedious. There is a disconnect with the audience.
Often it seems that the storyline is sacrificed in order to drive their controversial points home.
Trensch and Steffi D are very strong in their roles as Moritz and Ilse and it is easy to connect with their story lines. Their musical numbers are the highlight of the show with both actors having powerful voices.
The set production and the music itself is great. The entertaining score was done by pop singer/songwriter Duncan Sheik.
On the other hand, the romance between Epstein’s Melchior and Altomare’s Wendla seems a bit forced and there is not enough character development to make the audience care about what happens to them.
With a bit more character development and perhaps some stronger lead actors, Spring Awakening would do a much better job of presenting it’s point.
Performance times for Spring Awakening, appearing April 20 – May 9, 2010 at the Fisher Theatre, located at 3011 W. Grand Blvd., in Detroit, are:
– Tuesday through Saturday performances at 8:00 p.m.
– Saturday and Sunday matinee performances at 2:00 p.m.
– Sunday evening performances at 7:30 p.m. (No evening performance May 9)
Ticket prices for the Detroit engagement range from $24.00-$79.00 (inclusive of parking and facility fees) and are now on sale at the Fisher Theatre box office and all Ticketmaster locations. Tickets are also available for purchase online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.BroadwayinDetroit.com, and by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-982-2787. Limited premium seats will be available at the box office only. For group sales (12 or more) please email [email protected] or call (313) 871-1132. For additional information, visit www.BroadwayinDetroit.com or call (313) 872-1000.
For more information, visit www.springawakening.com.