For the past 6-8 weeks, I’ve been out on tour or down with the flu or helping my grrlfriend say goodbye to her mom who passed from this world. But I’m back now in New York City, and I was thankfully lucky enough to catch a performance of Spring Awakening, a shiny new Broadway musical that shatters Broadway stereotypes in a healthy, sex positive way.
The musical is based on the Wedekind play: a story of adolescent sexuality in the face of parental and church repression. It’s set in Germany, 1896, but that’s only where it starts. The adults in the play are all played by two actors — Stephen Spinella and Christine Estabrook!!!!!!!! The youth are played by actors ranging from 15 to 23 years old and the entire ensemble is AMAZING… there are no weak links or lags in the energy. The lead youth are particularly mesmerizing.
This adaptation makes the choice to have the adults speak in the stilted speech of 1896 Germany, but the youth lapse into today’s vernacular — as does their music. It’s disorienting and completely effective. You’re gonna want the cast album.
This is a BRAVE BRAVE piece of art: *graphic* representations of adolescent masturbation, S/M, homosexuality, het sex, adult abuse — and the emotional depth of all of it is both painful and uplifting. This is the kind of theater I wish I’d made. Barbara and I saw it from the orchestra, but my guess is that the best seats would be in the front mezzanine. You can get tickets for onstage seats (yup, right up there on the stage) for about $31 — check out the website: http://www.springawakening.com
The critics may be tough on this show, just because it’s so SEX POSITIVE AND FUCKING DANGEROUS in today’s puritanical climate. So please go if you can, and go as soon as you can and cheer as loud as you can. I promise you won’t be disappointed. It’s worth every penny you might spend to see it. Completely unforgettable. I plan to go back to see it at least one more time, maybe more.