The Barn Players opened their 2013-14 season on Friday Sept. 20 with Spring Awakening. Spring Awakening is from the book and lyrics by Steven Slater with music by Duncan Sheik and directed by Eric Magnus. The production is based on the play by Frank Wedekind. Written in 1891 Wedekind had to self-publish the play which was banned in Germany for a time, due to its frank portrayal of taboos.
After a stint on Off-Broadway the play opened at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in December of 2006. Among the cast were Lea Michele, John Gallagher, Jr. and Jonathan Groff. The Broadway show garnered eight Tony Awards, which included Best Musical and Best Direction.
The play is set in the late 19th century Germany and is a musical that is supposed to tell the tale of teens coming of age and seeking carnal knowledge. Unfortunately there are too many social issues thrust into the show to allow for much character or plot development.
What at one time may have been a good concept for a play has been taken to an extreme by Director Magnus. The graphic scenes depicting sex acts not only crossed the lines of decency but stomped them into the ground. These scenes may have been a vital part of the play, but they were taken to an extreme which according to comments over-heard by audience members was, “embarrassing”.
Maggie Gremminger who played Wendla Bergman did a good job in the role and has a great voice. Bobby Turnbough is Melchior Gabor, the male lead. He was good in his role, but most of the songs he sang could not be heard because of how loud the orchestra played. Only the most powerful voices allowed for the audience to hear the words on most of the songs.
Ilse Neumann is being played by Kristen Altoro who has the best and most powerful female voice in the cast. The part of Moritz Stiefel is played by Keegan Rice with the best male voice.
If you are looking for a show that depicts graphic sexual situations, child abuse, child molestation, abortion and suicide mixed with song and slight humor, then this is the show to see. But remember leave the younger kids at home, because the show is rated “R” for raunchy.