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Spring Awakening

a Musical
CATEGORY : MUSICAL
by Music by Duncan Sheik, Book and Lyrics by Steven Sater

COMPANY : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : OnStage Atlanta 3041 N. Decatur [WEBSITE]
ID# 5546

SHOWING : July 19, 2019 - August 24, 2019

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

An exhilarating journey of teenage self-discovery, lost innocence and coming-of-age. Winner of 8 Tony Awards, Spring Awakening is a provocative exploration of the journey from adolescence to adulthood told through an electrifying contemporary musical with a pop-rock score. Based on Frank Wedekind's controversial 1891 play of the same name, it follows the interweaving lives of a group of German teenagers as they navigate issues of sexuality, morality, and adulthood. Although set in late-19th century Germany, the angst, emotion, desire and romance still ring true today.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Charlie Miller
Ilse Gabriella Anderson
Ernst John Jenkins
Adult Female Liane Lemaster
Otto Nolan Martin
Moritz Shane Murphy
Thea Suzanne Stroup
Georg James Thomas
Melchior Jacob Valleroy
Adult Male Darrell Wofford
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REVIEWS

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Rude Awakening
by playgoer
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
4.0
Onstage Atlanta is presenting an attractive production of "Spring Awakening," with splendid period costumes by Nancye Quarles Hilley, effectively evocative lighting by Harley Gould, and quirky, energetic choreography by Janie Young (apparently a replacement since the time initial posters were printed). The visual design elements provided by director Charlie Miller also contribute to the production. His large upstage tree trunk is perhaps too rustic a backdrop for the action, but its spreading roots painted on the stage floor are intriguing, and his props are incorporated well into the action and choreography.

Mr. Miller’s sound design is a bit of a problem, though. The original Broadway production featured actors springing up with hand mikes to perform the ensemble numbers. Here, the singers have no amplification. When one ensemble member has a solo line underscored by the rest of the ensemble singing something else, the solo often gets lost. Balance between the excellent seven-piece orchestra and the singers tends to favor the orchestra, so words are sometimes lost in the mix.

Performances are all good. The actors have thrown themselves into their roles, and under Paul Tate’s musical direction all show evidence of fine voices, although of different powers. Suzanne Stroup’s belt is powerful; Jacob Valleroy’s falsetto is soft. Luckily, they’re featured at different times.

Mr. Valleroy (Melchior) and Shane Murphy (Moritz) give heartfelt performances as the male leads. Emily Winchell is somewhat colorless as Wendla, the female lead, but blends in well with the female ensemble. All the ensemble roles are filled well, but the general inexperience of the talented and youthful cast results in no standout performances.

All adult roles are played by one male (Darrell Wofford) and one female (Liane LeMaster). Costumes, bearing, and speech patterns help distinguish their roles, but there’s an artificial feel to the concept of them playing all the adult roles. In a small house like Onstage Atlanta’s, there’s not the possibility of having them unrecognizable from one role to another. Their extensive experience also tilts the balance of the show a bit; their acting tends to overwhelm the less nuanced performances of the younger cast. Ms. LeMaster in particular comes across as the most compelling performer in the production.

"Spring Awakening" will not be to everyone’s taste, with its odd admixture of foul-mouthed rock songs to a plot of teenaged sexual repression in 19th-century Germany. The company at Onstage Atlanta is performing the show with purpose and conviction, and their efforts are above the level of typical community theatre, but the show really needs a thoroughly professional production to have the fullest possible impact.
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