Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spring Awakening in Philly

I went to the opening night performance of Spring Awakening in Philadelphia last night and this is what I think...

I saw the show on Broadway somewhere around 10-15 times. You would think I would keep track of that since I love numbers and statistics so much, but I started going so often that I lost track. I have seen most, if not all, of the actors who played the lead roles, in addition to many of the others. I sat on stage a bizillion times, I went to their performance on Good Morning America, and I spent an obscene amount of money to buy the autographed manuscript when there were only three scripts in the general public, none of the others having the cast autographs that mine had. Therefore, I feel qualified to give my opinions of the tour.

I think it was awesome. I have to admit, it was the first national tour of a Broadway show I ever attended, so I was curious to see how similar it would be to the original. I was tremendously impressed to discover that it was almost identical - bravo! The set, the costumes, and even most of the hair was the same. There were two notable differences, though, and it is on those that I will now focus.

The Acting

The lead male roles were performed by guys that I have seen perform the roles on Broadway several times, and they were still wonderful, of course. The lead female was a Philly local and, while her voice was beautiful, there was nothing overly special about her (thanks to Kurt for pointing that out!). What I really want to say is that most of the kids were excellent, but the two adults were not. The actress playing the adult females was, well...a bad actress. How the hell did she get cast for the national tour? She was high school theater quality...I would not even want to see her in community theater. She played the roles so obviously and so blandly...ew.

Dear Lady,
Thank god you were not in the Broadway cast. You might have ruined it for me a little bit.

The gentleman playing the adult male roles did so in a very different way than did the men on Broadway. This, of course, is not always a bad thing. In this case, though, I think it was. He was so mousey and overly dramatic. He did not seem the staunch Germans that I believe were required for the roles.

Dear Sir,
I did not like you either. Why were you and your lady friend cast? Was it just that all the better adult actors did not want to travel across the country with a cast of kids? Oy.

This show is really about the kids. Thankfully they were great.

The Audience

Unlike on Broadway, where people generally know what they are getting themselves into when they buy tickets for a show, many of the audience members in Philly purchased a package of tickets for the Broadway at the Academy series, completely unaware of Spring Awakening's subject matter. Needless to say, there were shocked reactions during many scenes, much frantic whispering, and some who were so offended that they left. Including the ladies who sat behind me. I think that if you walk out of a show for reasons other than boredom, there is something slightly wrong with you.

Dear Ladies, and others who left the performance,
You are ridiculous. Get an education. Learn about real life and real people.

Overall, the evening was excellent. Our press seats were great, and the woman sitting next to me was fabulous. We became fast friends for the few hours we spent sitting next to each other. She suggested I seek therapy for my SA addiction, but I assured her I was in remission. I was only there because it was free. I truly was not going to spend the money to see it AGAIN. She also stepped on my shoe, and blamed herself for being a "bigger girl," but, when she realizd I was wearing shoes that came to a point, she retracted her apology and let me take the fall! :P I loved her. She wanted to buy the soundtrack, but did not want her 7 year old son to hear it. Who can blame her? Her husband was nice, too.

Incidentally, it had been over a year since I had last been to the Academy (to see the opera Hansel & Gretel with sets by Maurice Sendak) and I forgot how gorgeous it was inside! Wonderful.

If you get a chance, go see Spring Awakening. It plays through the 28th. If you cannot make it, go see something else this summer. It is inexpensive and totally worth it!

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