I realized I never wrote about seeing the revival of Spring Awakening before I went away. I was under the impression that this production was going to open, be a hit, and sell out it’s short production, so I wanted to see it before I went away. I was so, so excited, yet skeptical, about this revival. I loved the original production so much. I love the score so much. This production was going to be completely different, but I knew that going in. It had a very Once-feel to it when we walked in because the cast was warming up onstage in costume. This is great as I really loved Once, but this wasn’t Once. I missed seeing the bleachers onstage. We were in the first row of the rear mezzanine (thanks, TDF!) and the seats were just fine. The always-excellent Patrick Page, as the adult man, walked by us telling us to quiet down so the show could start, and Marlee Matlin (who apparently is a big deal but I’m unfamiliar with her) walked around in the orchestra doing the same. And the lights went down.
The ASL aspect of this show was a neat addition. It was really affective that Wendla and Moritz had no voices so you could say their lack of ability to speak lead to both of their demises. Maybe that’s stretching. The set felt like they took remnants of Taboo and Rent, fine. The lighting had the same feel.
I’m in the minority but I really ended up missing the original production. This production had the same feel throughout, there was no juxtaposition between the book scenes and the songs. What really helped make that change harsh in the original production was the use of the microphones. For 99% of the revival, there were no microphones. You didn’t get that the characters were singing as their 21st century counterparts (which is, I believe, what the original production intended to do).
It’s still a fine production. It still has a gorgeous score. My favorites, cast-wise, was Sean Grandillo as Otto, Alex Wyse as George, and Katie Boeck as Wendla, and an honorable mention should go to Krysta Rodriguez as Isle. If you know her backstory, it was a bit more meaningful to watch her up there.
If you’ve never seen Spring Awakening, this production is definitely worth your time. It’s playing through January 24th.