Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Spring Awakenings shock, not much else
By Ma’at Atkins

Main cast members FROM LEFT: Blake Bashoff, Kyle Riabko and Christy Altomore (photo by
The disclaimer invite for the stage play “Springs Awakenings” during opening night at the Fox Theatre Tuesday was “suggestive content with some nudity and graphic situations.”

For those who were not familiar with the play, that is.
But for the theoretic, it was not.
Other than the controversial content of “Awakenings”, “was more of a rock musical very ala Jesus Christ Superstar set to a story about teenage love angst set in the 19th century.

Based upon the work of 19th century German playwright Frank Wedekin’s play, the 2006 off Broadway success-cum-8-time Tony Award nominated play uses much of the culture and costuming of 19th century Victorian America, but for the most part, the play takes an anachronistic and pop approach on the subjects of atheism, homosexual, sexual repression, incest and child abuse from the point of view of the early teen characters, Melchior Gabor (played by Kyle Riabko), a sexually active atheist and hero to the repressed teens of the community; Wendla Bergmann (played convincingly by Christy Altomore), a virgin who is intrigued with feeling loved and Moritz Stiefel (a Blake Bashoff) , the tragic figure who lose his battle in finding his sexual identity.

What makes Awakenings is the great quirky songs (written and produced by rock star Duncan Sheik) that help tell the story of the pain of teen inquisition (especially the dark but angelically defrocking, “The Word of Your Body.”) Another is the dazzling flashy light choreography that sets off the rock music mood of the production. Lastly, to infuse the off-Broadway roots of the play, an auditorium set set up on both sides of the stage where members of the audience can sit gives "Awakenings" that "play within a play" effect.

Entertaining indeed, but after the shock value of the suggestive content of the play, the waiting of another “moment” gets lost in the actual story that is being told.

Spring Awakening
February 10-22, 2009
527 N. Grand
Tuesday-Thursday 8 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 19 at 1 p.m.
Go to www. for ticket information

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