Who would have thought that a musical about sex,rape, abortion,suicide,and child abuse could be so entertaining? Although dealing with all of these controversial issues, the songs tactfully and often tenderly help you deal with these issues along side the characters. As difficult as some of these issues are to face in the year 2012, think about how they were in 1892 when the original book was written. In 2006, “Spring Awakening” was adapted into a musical and won eight Tony Awards. Duncan Sheik wrote the music and Steve Sater wrote the book and lyrics.
Pushing boundaries was the trend in this show. Wendla is a sheltered child. She opens by singing, “Mama who bore me” and asks her mother where babies come from. Since her mother does not tell her, it leads to trouble later. Melchior is a smart young boy but he is always pushing status quo. His friend Moritz tells him about erotic dreams he is having. Melchior influences Moritz to try new things because all the boys are doing it. Melchior and Wendla start to talk more and realize they have a connection. They sing, “I believe” and end up sleeping together. The show ends tragically. Wendla gets pregnant, has an abortion and dies. Moritz fails his exams and lets his family down. He kills himself and then Melchior is left alone. The three of them sing, “Those You’ve Known”.
The cast blended very well together. “The Song of Purple Summer” gave this blogger goosebumps. The harmonization was superb! The choreography was incredible. The boys did a great job moving together and danced well. The use of the stage was nothing I’ve ever seen. The cast crawled up walls, slid down poles, jumped off the stage, and made use of all of the stage. The band was on a platform above the stage exposed. It magnified the sound and when the lighting was added in the mix it all worked well together.
Moritz played by Tyler Michaels was this bloggers favorite. His character was the perfect picture of a triple threat. David Darrow who played Melchior was also a stand out. His singing voice was deep and drew you in. Michelle Barber who played the adult women was perfect for the multiple roles. She had a great accent, composure, and played all her roles well.
For a show that will push limits and boundaries, make your way to Theater Latte Da’s “Spring Awakening”.
Theater Latte Da at the Rarig Center, University of Minnesota
April 12-May 6th