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Show Review- SPRING AWAKENING TOUR

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  • Show Review- SPRING AWAKENING TOUR

    Balboa Theater- San Diego, CA 8/20/08

    I hadn't seen Spring Awakening before, save the stunning performance by the OBC on the Tonys. I bought the cast recording as soon as it was available, so I was really familiar with the songs from the show...

    The Balboa Theatre seems to be a good fit for the set. It's just the right size for a show like Spring Awakening, and as it's the 1st touring Broadway show to put up stakes there, it'll be interesting to see what else could possibly play here.

    Part of the audience sits on stage just to the left and right, making them a passive yet visual part of the action. The cast, when not performing, all sit among them. This deliberate break in reality serves as a constant reminder to the audience that they are watching a play, and the result is a kind of honesty in the actors' performances you wouldn't normally see in a 'typical' Broadway production.

    The show is well-cast, with both Melchior and Moritz joining the show from the Broadway production. The actors are all very believable, unlike the 30-playing-16 actors you might see in Grease. When the actors speak, they speak as people would in a play, but when they sing, they ROCK OUT. Hand-held mics appear from stands and cleverly hidden inside costumes, furthering the development of characters who act outwardly conservative but long to release their inner rock star. Vocally the show is strong, and in ensemble numbers the harmony of the entire cast really shines. Everyone's voices suit the rock-pop score, and it wouldn't be a far stretch to see any one of these actors front a rock band someday!

    Much has been made of the 'sexual content' of the show but I never felt it gratuitous. It's fairly in its representation of the hormonally-charged adolescent years, something most of us can relate to (even though trying to get people to admit it is an exercise in futility). The couple sitting next to me left and didn't come back for the second act, apparently brutally honest depictions of young passion were too much for them.

    The lighting was dead-on, likewise the sound. The lighting, a mix of traditional theatrical lighting and Mark Rothko-meets-Japanese Pop serves as a vehicle to enhance the tensions and joys throughout the production. It transitions shockingly from subdued oranges and ambers in book sections to full-out rock-n-roll in mere moments, but it never feels out of place. The band members and ensemble mixes could use a litle bit of enhancement, especially in numbers like 'Totally F**ked' and 'Those You've Known', where the leads tended to overpower even the band. Otherwise everything sounded great, with everything perfectly in balance.

    Did Spring Awakening really deserve as many Tony Awards as it got? In short, yes. Even though I abhor Duncan Sheik's albums, he and Steven Sater really hit the nail on the head with Spring Awakening.

    --nick--
    Amnesia used to be my favourite word, but I forgot it.

  • #2
    Re: Show Review- SPRING AWAKENING TOUR

    We would love to see this. The energy of the performance on the Tony show was amazing.

    My partner, Rick's 79 year old Mom is seeing this soon. We anxiously await her review. She is very open minded, as long as she is entertained (and by your description she will be) she will like it and not be off-put by the sexuality.

    Thanks!
    "Not Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Astor together could have
    raised money enough to buy a quarter share in my little dog."

    Ernest Thompson Seton

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    • #3
      Re: Show Review- SPRING AWAKENING TOUR

      The sexuality is present but it's actually very tastefully done. It doesn't serve to titillate, but it does bring back memories of the raging hormones and confusing turns of adolescence. I actually got to sit onstage during the show last night and it's a very intense experience. I highly recommend it.

      --nick--
      Amnesia used to be my favourite word, but I forgot it.

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      • #4
        Re: Show Review- SPRING AWAKENING TOUR

        Thanks for the review. I totally enjoyed it's performance at the Tony's.

        I'll be looking to see if I can travel to see this traveling show.

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        • #5
          Re: Show Review- SPRING AWAKENING TOUR

          Thank you for sharing. I've actually seen Lea Michele live a few times, not necessarily in Spring Awakening. I'm really looking forward seeing the show when it comes to Los Angeles!


          Escapade
          Disneyland Resort trip reports

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          • #6
            Re: Show Review- SPRING AWAKENING TOUR

            We'll see who's still with the show when they get to L.A. Many of the cast members are going to go back to college soon, and I heard Kyle Riabko and Blake Bashoff only signed on to go as far as Los Angeles...

            --nick--
            Amnesia used to be my favourite word, but I forgot it.

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            • #7
              Re: Show Review- SPRING AWAKENING TOUR

              Well, I have seen the show twice in LA and Kyle Riabko and Blake Bashoff are with the show still, it would be a shame if they left after the show closes in LA. They both have amazing voices but I think I prefer Blake's voice over Kyle's. I remember watching Blake in the Movie Bushwhacked years ago.




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              • #8
                Re: Show Review- SPRING AWAKENING TOUR

                I saw the show again last night. The cast has gotten even tighter through S.F. and now L.A., really pushing the pace of the show. The cast harmonies were right on, likewise with Christy/Kyle and Blake/Steffi. Angela's Adult Women has developed into a sort of Stepford Wives-meets-Mommy-Dearest thing, an interesting choice.

                Last night the cast was in the lobby collecting donations for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. I gave my donation to Anthony Lee Medina Not very many of the cast stopped at the stage door, since the show ended at 9:15 and they had to get to a cabaret BC/EFA benefit performance in WeHo! I finally got Blake, Henry and Kimiko's autographs, though! squee!

                --nick--
                Amnesia used to be my favourite word, but I forgot it.

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