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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Alt-Rock and Adolescence

    What do you get when you combine ’90s alt-rock star Duncan Sheik, a cast full of attractive young talent and 18th-century Germany? The answer is the hit musical “Spring Awakening.” Completely worthy of the eight Tony Awards it has won, “Spring Awakening” is truly an unforgettable musical.

    In the most basic sense, “Spring Awakening” is a story about teenagers discovering their bodies, and each others’ bodies. Set in 18th-century Germany, the musical mixes a historical setting with issues that are still relevant today set to an incredible rock score composed by Duncan Sheik. With parents and teachers who are too afraid to teach their children about sex and life, each character learns everything the hard way. The three leads — popular, handsome Melchior (currently played by Hunter Parrish of “Weeds” fame), quirky, troubled Moritz (Gerard Canonico) and the innocent but curious Wendla (Alexandra Socha) — and the rest of the characters face typical adolescent issues. A first love, sex, masturbation, depression, homosexuality, abuse, failing school — nothing is off limits.

    I’ve seen the show three times from every perspective. My first time I saw it with the original cast before the show was awarded all of the Tony Awards. I was sitting in the orchestra section and fell in love with the show. The second time I saw the show I sat in the very last row of the theater. It was just as amazing as the first time even though I had the worst seat in the house. The third time I saw the show I sat on stage. No, that isn’t a misprint. There are 26 seats on the actual stage that put audience members in the center of the action. You’re sitting among the cast members when they aren’t on stage, and ensemble members in everyday clothes that surprise you when they stand up and start singing along.

    Sitting on stage was definitely my favorite Broadway memory of all time, and I’ve had many. It was incredible to sit next to the actors and hear their natural voices. During some bigger company numbers, “The Bitch of Living” and “Totally F–ked,” cast members were literally flying and jumping all over the stage. The ground was shaking! It was really amazing to not only see but also feel the show all around you.

    I was fortunate enough to have a seat near the pit, which is also on stage. It was fascinating to see the equipment and musicians up close. You also get to see the set and lights from an intimate perspective. The set is plain at first glance for there are no major pieces. Instead, brick walls are covered in different pieces of art and photography. A big blackboard with writing that isn’t quite legible from the audience is clearly readable from the stage. Small things like that make sitting on stage so incredible – it’s like being backstage and watching the show at the same time.

    Before the show, you’re given a locker to put your belongings in so as not to detract from the aesthetics of the show. You really are a part of the set. Though the seats are considered side/back view seats and are cheaper for this very reason (only $40 each), I would have to say they offer some of the best experiences you can have on Broadway.

    What truly makes “Spring Awakening” is the cast. Every member with the exception of the two adult roles is between the ages of 16 and 21. Their talents far exceed their years. I’ve waited by the stage door after seeing the show two out of three times and each cast member signs everyone’s Playbill and takes pictures without a word of complaint. They are always gracious and appreciative of all their fans.

    My favorite part of the musical (if I must name just one) is when the boys sing “The Bitch of Living.” The energy and athleticism exhibited in the choreography and their incredible singing is amazing. The boys fly off of chairs and stomp their feet with ferocity all while maintaining amazing harmonies.

    Note that there is nudity and the aforementioned controversial issues in this musical. I would highly recommend this show otherwise. I’ve been fortunate enough to see around 20 Broadway musicals, and “Spring Awakening” trumps them all.

    Tickets can be purchased through the Telecharge link on Student Rush tickets are a cheaper alternative to buying in advance. If you’re willing to wait, you can go early to the box office at the Eugene O’Neill Theater and present a student I.D. to get tickets for $27. The downside is that there are only a limited number of tickets for each show. Digital Rush is another option where you sign up online and receive a text message with a code that allows you to buy tickets online or at the box office for $40. This is open to everyone, not just students, and saves you from waiting on line.

    No matter where or how you get your tickets, “Spring Awakening” is always an incredible show not to be missed.

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