The beautiful thing about theatre is that it gives you the freedom to push limits, bring up important issues in the world, and get conversations started. This revival of spring awakening takes a huge step in artist freedom and brings deaf actors and hearing actors on the same stage to tell an amazing story. Michael Arden and the entire creative team manage to take a story that is set in the 1890’s and make it so relevant to our lives.
As you enter Brooks Atkinson Theatre there is silence and as it gets closer to curtain you start hearing vibrations and a humming noise. The set is dimly lit and gives a presence of darkness and loneliness. Slowly the actors start to appear on stage dress only in their white undergarments. The actors continue to warm up, greet each other, living life, as they had no problems in the world. We see center stage a mirror and actress Sandra Mae Frank who plays Wendla makes her first inter action with her ‘voice” actress Katie Boeck. They have a beautiful moment seeing each other in the mirror and helping each other dress. We quickly understand their relationship, the “voice’ actors seem to resemble their voice inside their heads and almost represent how they wish they could be.
This cast is beyond amazing! There is so much talent on stage that you don’t know where to look! Austin P. McKenzie does a fantastic job carrying this show; he brings this energy on stage that you can’t take your eyes off him. Katie Boeck who voices Wendla has such a unique voice and it was so refreshing to hear her make it her own. Daniel N Durant who plays Moritz gave a haunting performance. Watching him sign in his last scene repeating “so dark” over and over in silence will forever leave an image in my mind, truly a powerful moment. Again, I can’t stress how talent this cast is; seriously they are all rock stars!
Visually this show was stunning, from the lights, costumes, to choreography. The lighting went from realistic to a rock concert to magical romantic, to absolutely haunting. I loved how the costumes for the voices symbolized how they would like to dress if they weren’t stuck in such a regimented world. And I loved the choreography; the actors signing basically took over their body and made a beautiful dance. The entire show moved so well that I wasn’t ready for it to end. There were so many great stage pictures that if I only saw pictures in order of the show I would understand what was going on and again I need to give Michael Arden credit for directing this wonderful piece of theatre.
Everyone needs to see this show, you will leave the theatre feeling so many emotions but hopefully you will leave feeling inspired as I did. This production is an exciting step for Theatre, giving more artists opportunity to share their gift, it is an exciting time!
Review By: Briana Burnside
Photos By: Joan Marcus