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ROCK & ANGST

Print Version

Auckland Fringe 2013
SPRING AWAKENING The Musical
Based on the Frank Wedekind play
score by Duncan Sheik
book and lyrics Steven Sater
direction by Richard Neame
musical direction by Chris Moore
choreography by Teesh Szabo
presented by Auckland Music Theatre

at Westpoint Performing Arts Centre, Auckland
From 23 Feb 2013 to 9 Mar 2013
[2 hrs]

Reviewed by James Wenley, 25 Feb 2013
originally published in Theatre Scenes - Auckland Theatre Blog

“Forget every other Musical you've ever seen” says the pre-show announcement voice as the lights dim for Spring Awakening. It's a statement that is more about marketing hype than the show's ability to offer something new to the form. Sure, its themes of suicide, masturbation, and sexual abuse are risqué, but nothing that are not presented in a confrontational enough way to be piercingly challenging to an audience. It's still conventional Musical Theatre to a fault.

Spring Awakening the Musical is based on German Frank Wedekind's 1890 play, which did prove too much and was banned in its time, and was not performed until 16 years later. As a Rock Musical, Spring Awakening is very much the inheritor of Hair and later Rent, which used that music genre to explore the angst and rebellion of the younger generations. Except here the angst is transplanted to 1890s proto-teenagers with a distinct indie-rock vibe. The 2006 Broadway Musical, hardly Fringe, won the Tony Award for Best Musical, ran for just over two years, and was career making for Glee stars Lea Michelle, Jonathan Groff and Jenna Ushkowitz. Auckland Music Theatre finally debuts the New Zealand Premiere for Auckland Fringe in a production that is suitably rough - if not quite ready. [More]  
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