The Arts

Mirvish Productions – Sater and Sheik's Spring Awakening

Mirvish Productions – Sater and Sheik's Spring Awakening featured image

reviewed by Paula Citron

Spring Awakening
Mirvish Productions
Music by Duncan Sheik
Book & lyrics by Steven Sater
Directed by Michael Mayer
Starring Matt Doyle, Blake Bashoff, Christy Altomare, Steffi D, and Chase Davidson
At the Canon Theatre until Apr. 19

I’m beginning to think that on certain occasions, there is a great divide between popular culture and myself. Take the musical Spring Awakening. It won eight 2007 Tony Awards and a Grammy, but it left me cold, despite good performances and a stronger second half, not to mention Bill T. Jones’ emotionally compelling choreography.

The musical is based on Frank Wedekind’s banned 1891 play about sexual awakening in teenagers and the disasters caused by a repressive society. In the musical version, Duncan Sheik’s music is amorphous rock while Steven Sater’s lyrics are contemporary, even though visually, the play is set back in time.

While I find Wedekind’s play very powerful, I’m getting bored with loud rock operas that don’t have one distinguishing characteristic. For me, Spring Awakening is blunted because the sound-alike songs break up the dramatic action.

Karen Kain should bring back James Kudelka’s ballet version. Now that’s raw-edge theatre.

Spring Awakening continues at the Canon Theatre until Apr. 19.

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