Spring Awakening

Sorry folks, removed the video because of the automatic play–you can go here to watch it.
I saw the musical Spring Awakening last weekend. Jos also saw it, so we’re both going to share our thoughts in this post.
From Miriam:
Growing up I was a big fan of musical theatre, and saw pretty much every Off-Broadway production that came through my town. Since then I haven’t seen one in a few years, but I was excited to catch Spring Awakening when it came through DC. This new musical has been getting all sorts of attention and praise, including 8 TONY awards. You get a sneak peek in the video above, but it’s pretty spectacular. Innovative music (by Duncan Sheik! Anyone remember him?), super young cast, and extremely relevant themes.
Although the play that this is based on was written in 1891, the topics they hit on are really relevant. Teenage sexuality, sex education, pregnancy, abortion, academic pressure, homosexuality, it’s all there.
The one thing that rubbed me the wrong way was the portrayal of the main character, a boy named Melchior. He’s the stellar pupil, super smart forward thinking guy. He also has a romance with the other main character, Wendla. I don’t want to give too many details, but the way their relationship unfolds and the way he is portrayed as a hero of sorts at the end bothered me.
From Jos:
I also got the chance to see Spring Awakening a couple weeks ago. I loved the music, loved the staging, and loved seeing a musical about the need for comprehensive sexuality education. The show is a melodramatic (not a criticism – this is a musical after all) examination of what happens when young people do not have access to honest, accurate information about sex and sexuality.
I appreciated the handling of a first heterosexual experience with kink. The frightened, curious exploration of links between violence and desire felt honest and contemporary. The gay love scene was probably my favorite part of this particular performance. The two actors made a lot of small deliberate choices that had me laughing hysterically while also appreciating the sweetness of the moment.
I agree with Miriam’s complaints about Melchior. I thought the sex scene between Melchior and Wendla had the same problematic approach to consent we see over and over again in movies – the woman says no until she’s been pressured enough and then she says yes. Also, the show was obviously written by men, given the lack of dealing with menstruation, a topic I expected would get at least a mention.

Other’s who have seen the play have thoughts? For those who haven’t I totally recommend it, it’s a really fun show. You can see upcoming tour dates here.

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