REVIEW: Spring Awakening

There are those musicals that are frivolous; the ones that of course you still enjoy, but you leave saying, “Oh, that was cute!” Some leave you cross-eyed, uttering, “What did I just watch?” Then, there is Spring Awakening where you leave physically hurting, the tension of the show washing over you in waves, long after the final chords have faded away. A musical that can make you feel the magic of intimacy, the pain of betrayal, and the beauty of the human existence can be deemed unbelievable, I suppose, but even that is sort of vague and nonspecific. It was awesome, let’s call it that.

I’ve seen the show before and heard the music thousands of times; however, the School of Musical Theatre here produces and attracts such remarkable talent that I could honestly say that I’d never heard the show like those students performed it last night. Conor Ryan, as previously seen in Caberet last semester, was an extremely impressive male lead playing the character of Melchior, a “radical” who goes against the grain of the 1890s German society of restrictions, regulations, and rules against young adolescents. His acting and vocal talent is postively flawless. Erika Peterson played the female lead, Wendla, with remarkable flourish and a moving vocal performance. I would honestly say I’d rather see her play the role again than ever watch Lea Michele as Wendla, as made famous from the show Glee but previously debuted the role of Wendla on Broadway. Granted, I have only heard Michele sing the songs; however, I truly loved Peterson’s voice for the part and thought she was spectacular. Her body language when she performed was so timid yet powerful as she spent most of the show, shoulders hunched and hands laced over her stomach. It’s a hard thing to describe and I’m sort of struggling here, but just trust me when I say it worked; it just worked.

My favorite performer of the show, if I had to choose, would be Ryan Vasquez in the role of Moritz, another male lead playing side-by-side as best friend of Melchior (Conor Ryan). I loved him in the role so much and afterwards, I could not get his interpretation of the song “Don’t do Sadness” out of my head. If you haven’t seen the show, this is not going to make much sense, but he added a bunch of rifts to the song that gave it a newer and more desperate quality. I got chills. The torment of his character was evident in every movement of his body and the songs he sang. I cried at the beginning and the end for poor Moritz.

After the show ended, I wanted desperately to close my eyes, rewind time, and just watch the show over and over. It’d only been about four years since I’d first seen the show, but in no way was I numb to the passion of this show. I hope that everyone has the opportunity to see Spring Awakening at some point because it is just so phenomenal of a musical that everyone is bound to find something they adore within its contents.