Spring Awakening Closing (Theater and Galleries) Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 16 2009

Sure, the play on which this 2006 musical is based was a scandal when it first appeared. Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening was banned from performance for 15 years. But that was over a century ago, in a Germany ruled by Hohenzollern emperors who went around wearing spiked helmets. Certainly, Wedekind's tale of fierce, ignorant bourgeois repression directed against horny teenagers can't be meaningful now, when a kid with a cell phone is more than a match for any parent, teacher, or cleric alive? And yet it's not only meaningful: as reborn in Duncan Sheik's brash-to-tender rock score, Steven Sater's blunt-poetic lyrics, and the fraught elegance of Bill T. Jones's gestural choreography, it's stunning. My wife thinks the power of the show--offered here in a sharp touring production--has to do with Bush-era fundamentalism, and she's right. But it's also a product of elemental themes: the dynamism of youth, the jealousy of age, the will to life, the denial of love. What happens to a dream deferred, indeed. Though Sater and Sheik's Spring Awakening is full of laughs, sex, and sweet tunes, it's ultimately heartbreaking in its portrayal of kids and parents alike tortured by propriety. --Tony Adler

Price: $25-$95

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