Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I've wanted to write about
Spring Awakening ever since I heard Duncan Sheik interviewed on NPR a week ago. Mind you I haven't seen the play personally, but I love the story and concept. Then I was reminded again when I watched the first hour of the Tony Awards and it was winning left and right. I didn't watch to the end, but this play won 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical. I’m not at all surprised.

Spring Awakening takes its inspiration from one of literature’s most controversial masterpieces – a work so daring in its depiction of teenage self-discovery, it was banned from the stage and not performed in its complete form in English for nearly 100 years.

This story is about 2 teen lovers, living in a repressed society. It speaks about taboo subjects like suicide, abuse and abortion and is performed to contemporary, hip music. It reminds me of the tone in RENT which I have seen three times and have the soundtrack on my iPod and on CD. I favor theater, art and media that speak to youth in original and modern ways. Spring Awakening appears to ‘fit-the-bill’ -- fresh and innovative, and I think we can all applaud that, especially when there are so many remakes of old works. It is truly refreshing to see theatrical Producers and Directors taking on more original pieces rather than rehashing the tried-and-true productions. Those certainly have their place, but artists should be responsible to show the present culture--our time-frame, or at least adopt/adapt the art within our modern culture. That is all we have to leave behind for future generations to visualize the place we are in now-- ten years into the Millennium.

Adapting old stories so that they resonate contemporaneously is difficult and risky business. But with originality, creative producers can serve up entertainment and inspiration to people of all ages. Maybe they will even go one step further and offer solutions. I’m sure Spring Awakenings is well worth the ticket to a few hours of fun and enjoyment.