Based on Frank Wedekind's masterpiece The Awakening of Spring, Spring Awakening is the contemporary musical adaptation of one of literature's most controversial plays. Spring Awakening
boldly depicts a dozen young people and how they make their way through
the thrilling, complicated, confusing, and mysterious time of their
sexual awakening. Were critics charmed by the show? Let's find out...
For the New York Times, Charles Isherwood writes "As that daring sequence suggests, Mr. Sater, who wrote the book and lyrics, remains faithful to the play’s awareness that the discovery of sex can carry in its heady wake both salvation and destruction, particularly when it is coupled with ignorance. Mr. Sheik’s music, spare in its simple orchestrations, lush in the lapping reach of its seductive choruses, embodies the shadowy air of longing that infuses the show, the excitement shading into fear, the joy that comes with a chaser of despair. The singing throughout is impassioned and affecting, giving powerful voice to the blend of melancholy and hope in the songs."
David Rooney in Variety says "For anyone weary of pedestrian screen-to-stage adaptations or cut-and-paste jukebox assemblies, the arrival on Broadway of a truly original new musical like "Spring Awakening" is exhilarating. Seven years after it was first workshopped, Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's artful reinterpretation of the 1891 German Expressionist drama has deepened considerably. The show's long evolution and further fine-tuning since its hit run at Off Broadway's Atlantic Theater early this summer have amplified its resonance, adding texture and poignancy. It captures the dangerous anxiety of youth standing on the precipice of adulthood with transfixing honesty.
Clive Barnes for the NY Post writes that "THE good is rare enough in the the ater, but the excel lent is . . . well, just excellent. And so it was at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre last night when the gritty, groundbreaking "Spring Awakening" gave an unexpected jolt of sudden genius to wake up the hidebound Broadway musical."
Joe Dziemianowicz for the NY Daily News writes that "Great news for theatergoers who have craved a new musical with attitude, youthful exuberance and a fresh, gutsy sound: "Spring Awakening," which opened last night at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, is what they've been seeking."
Linda Winer for Newsday writes that ""Spring Awakening" did not merely open at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre last night. The action was more like ripping open, more like breaking out, more like tearing into the pretend pop and reused plots that pass for new musicals on Broadway today."
Elysa Gardner for USA Today wrote that "Beautiful, messy, exhilarating, awkward, vital: They're all adjectives you might use to describe first love. So it's fitting that you could also readily apply them to Spring Awakening, the imperfect but transcendent new musical that opened Sunday at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre."
Michael Kuchwara for the Associated Press writes that "That hasn't deterred adapter and lyricist Steven Sater and composer Duncan Sheik. What they have done here is upend traditional musical theater. They separate story from song, rigidly dividing the saga of these troubled teens as they confront their budding sexuality in a world that wants to keep it hidden. Propriety and appearances are what count, after all."
Overall, lots of out and out raves for this show which I loved myself a couple of weeks back as well. All of this well-deserved critical praise should help propel the show to reach the audience that it deserves. Bravo to all involved!
Posted on December 11, 2006 - by
About the Author:Robert Diamond founded BroadwayWorld.com in 2003, which has now become the largest theatre web site in the world. He also serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief, covering Broadway and beyond, with specific local coverage for 100 cities in the United States, 30 countries worldwide and 15 other related areas of entertainment - including dance, opera, fashion, concerts, comedy, films, television and more. The 2001 Syracuse University graduate (School of Information Studies) is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media, an award-winning leading design company for entertainment and technology web sites. In his previous life, he held an executive position for the world's leading publisher of technology magazines, web sites and conferences and, as a result, was named among the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by FOLIO Magazine. Diamond got his start in the entertainment field, accidentally, when he created the 'official web site' (while in college) for Michael Crawford, the popular actor and original Tony and Olivier Award-winning star of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. (He still blames Crawford - and credits him - for anything that goes particularly right or wrong during an average day.) As a respected member of the Broadway and theatre community, Diamond also served as Lead Producer for a series of sold-out shows using the BroadwayWorld.com 'brand' for a set of 'Standing Ovations' concerts, which also branched out into titles that included Holiday Shows and even more specific concerts like 'From Stage to Screen and Back Again' in tandem with publishers and movie studios. All proceeds were in turn donated to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, the industry's leader in aid for performers in need. Robert lives in Manhattan with his wife and two dogs, growing the business and getting little sleep. In addition, you can usually find him in a theatre many nights a week. Robert's very popular blog, 'The Broadway Pulse' appears daily on BroadwayWorld.com and he also writes weekly about theatre for the USA Network's Character Approved blog. In December of last year, Diamond was one of 5 Syracuse University Alumni, all having achieved success in the world of start-ups, business growth and venture capital, participating on a panel addressing young alumni who are currently pursuing their dreams of running their own business and experiencing the day to day challenges of a startup. It is part of the university's new Student Accelerator Program, for which Rob was recommended by Syracuse University's i-School.