Spring Awakening - A New Musical

Original Broadway Cast

Decca Broadway, 2006

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


I have to give Spring Awakening the highest of compliments -- I may actually care about the Tonys this year, because this collaborative effort between lyricist and writer Steven Sater and musician Duncan Sheik is one of the most enjoyable things I have heard in a long time.

Spring Awakening is a musical adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s 1893 my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Awakening Of Spring, a scathing indictment of the hypocrisy and tragedy inherent in the way children were treated in turn-of-the-century Germany, a tale of parental pressure and adolescent sexuality. In a brilliant turn of dramatic technique, the stories in Spring Awakening are modern twists on those tales in the era of school shootings.

We still push our children too hard, we still judge them, we still fail, sometimes, to tell them they are loved. As a father, Spring Awakening was hard to listen to, despite its incredible beauty.

The musicianship on Spring Awakening is incredible. The twin guitars of Sheik and Thad de Brock are sometimes gentle, sometimes lashing, but always perfect in context, and the string section of Olivier Manchon, Hiroko Taguchi, and Danielle Farina is, simply, brilliant. Ominous, portentous overtones fit the fact that at its heart, Spring Awakening is a tragedy.

Vocally, this is a triumph. Jonathan Groff as Melchior is passionate, playing the young man who dares to question the established order with defiance and nobility. John Gallagher Jr. imbues Moritz with tragedy and pathos. Lea Michele as Wendla is heartbreaking, her voice pure and elegant, rising above the sordid story elements surrounding the character. Songs like “All That’s Known,” “The Bitch of Living,” “Touch Me,” “I Believe” and “Totally F***ed” are incredibly strong and passionate, and “Those You’ve Known” literally moved me to tears the first time I heard it. As the musical closed with “The Song of Purple Summer,” I felt the pain and the triumph of the story.

Spring Awakening: A New Musical is heartrendingly wonderful. Some people are calling it the Rent of the new millennium. They may be selling it short.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2006 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Decca Broadway, and is used for informational purposes only.