note: entire contents copyright 2009 by Beverly Creasey
The musical of SPRING AWAKENING may be all the rage but for my money, it’s the original play (at Zeitgeist Stage through May 9th) which merits the awards. The Zeitgeist version of Frank Wedekind’s 1890 play about burgeoning teenage sexuality is a revelation---not just for Wedekind’s shocking dramatic line but for the stunning Boston production.
Director David Miller has assembled a remarkable cast of teenagers to portray the heroic adolescents forging a brave new world at the brink of the 20th century. It doesn’t hurt to have some crackerjack adult actors to play their parents and teachers either, chiefly Michelle Dowd as the only sympathetic grownup in the play. The rest of the adults are either “soulless bureaucrats” or heartless pedants. Dowd gets a show stopping moment defending her son (the talented Paul McCallion) which will leave you shaken…and blown away.
Rebecca Stevens gives a heartbreaking performance as the sacrificial innocent as does Carlos Rojas as the youngster caught in the machinery of a cruel, uncaring world. Miller gets extraordinary performances from all the young actors (and the seasoned professionals) in SPRING AWAKENING. His thrilling adaptation of Reinhold A. Mahler’s elegant translation gives new life to the historic original. Theater companies should run to add it to their repertoire.