A Review of ‘Spring Awakening’

“Thought is suspect, and money is their idol. And nothing is okay unless it’s scripted in their Bible, but I know there’s so much more to find just in looking through myself– and not at them.” (“All That’s Known” – Spring Awakening)

Winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the national tour of the hit broadway show “Spring Awakening” brought its talent to the Mitrani Stage at Bloomsburg University this past Friday, April 8. “Spring Awakening” has been proclaimed as “the best new explosive musical since RENT,” and I could not agree more.

“Spring Awakening” is set in a provincial German town in the 1890s where the children are completely uneducated on the matter of any controversial issues, the main one being how babies are made. This play explores the world of lies (from the adults) and the hidden and unknown feelings of sexual desires from the students.

The cast is as followed: Students: Wendla (Elizabeth Judd), Martha (Aliya Bowles), Anna (Rachel Geisler), Thea (Emily Mest), Otto (George E. Salazar), Hanscher (Devon Stone), Ernst (Daniel Plimpton), Georg (Jim Hogan), Moritz (Coby Getzug), Melchior (Christopher Wood), and Ilse (Courtney Markowitz) who is a childhood friend who runs away. Adults: The Adult Women (Sarah Kleeman), The Adult Men (Mark Poppleton). Ensemble: Jamie Rea Billings, Erin Burniston, William J. Lewis, Michael Linden, Jeff Ostermueller.

The play opens up with Wendla asking her mother to tell her how babies come about. Her mother gives in when Wendla states “but you cannot imagine I still believe in the stork,” or so she thinks. Wendla’s mother simply tells her that babies are made when a woman only loves one man.

Throughout “Spring Awakening,” all of the students go through their own sort of dilemma having to do with sexual desires and hidden feelings and emotions. Ilse runs away from home because of sexual abuse while Martha is being sexually abused by her father. Hanschen seduces Ernst rather easily while Otto dreamt of his mother. Thea keeps her sexual desires a secret to please adults, and Georg lusts after his piano teacher. Moritz has dreams of women that constantly haunt him. The only person who really understands anything about the feelings and emotions is Melchior, because he has read about them in books.

As the story continues, Melchior and Wendla find themselves easily falling for each other while Moritz struggles to make sense of his dreams or any of the desires and emotions he is feeling. Eventually the pressure and stress of it all gets to Moritz and he ends up killing himself. This deeply saddens Melchior because Moritz was his best friend.

Moritz (left) and Melchior (right)

The most important and most suspensful parts of the production occur right before the intermission and all of Act two. Melchior and Wendla run into each other at Melchior’s secret spot and end up having sex. Not knowing what any of it was and doing it purely because of feeling, Wendla gets pregnant.

Her mother ends up taking her to the doctor, who tells Wendla that she simply is anemic, but tells her mother the truth (which is that she’s pregnant). Eventually, Wendla’s mother takes her to an underground abortion specialist to have her get an abortion, which goes horribly wrong.

The show tragically ends with Melchior crying on the graves of both his best friend Moritz, and the girl he loves who was carrying his child, Wendla.

With an array of musical numbers, emotional scenes, and a phenominal set, the  Spring Awakening cast and crew were ready to blow the audience away. The standing ovation during curtain call was proof that they had acheived their goal.

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