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.

I had argued that it wasn’t a good idea to bring Bare back to New York, at least not in a very, very expensive way. I knew the writers had good intentions, but really, this revival was unnecessary as last year’s revival of Rent. I saw the third-to-last performance last Saturday and although I did enjoy watching it, the one word that absolutely describes it is contrived

The popular jock and the nerdy gay boy get into a relationship? Check. The jock is insecure with himself and sleeps with the stereotypical slutty chick? Check. The stereotypical slutty chick ends up getting pregnant because, of course, they didn’t use a condom? Check. The typical nice high school guy gets screwed over when trying to court the stereotypical slutty chick? Check. I can’t think of one scenario in Bare that I hadn’t seen played out somewhere else before last Saturday. The high schoolers were all caricatures of every type you’d expect.

That said: I enjoyed myself. The set was super cool, some of the music was melodic, the cast was great. and I felt like I was experiencing part of musical theatre history. This show had high hopes of getting to Broadway in 2004 before the Dodgers went broke (and apparently it was a completely different show back then – maybe less contrived?). I had many friends who’d loved it, though I’d never had the chance to see it. 

Alex Wyse was completely fantastic as Peter, and Jason Hite was good as Jason (although his voice got a bit whiny at times). I enjoyed seeing Missi Pyle onstage. This was also my first time seeing Gerard Canonico in a non-ensemble role and he was quite great. He has a great voice, and he moves really well (I completely missed this someone in American Idiot).  

While I’m glad I got to experience it, I think Bare may have been better left in the time capsule back in 2004, as it was just no longer as edgy as it probably was back then.