BWW Reviews: Glorystruck's SPRING AWAKENING in Concert
Spring Awakening has sprung once again in Los Angeles, only this time there is a more powerful message behind it. Done as a concert production, Glorystruck's new pared down rendition of the Tony-winning musical about German teens discovering their sexual and personal identity is helping to raise funds and awareness for the Love is Louder organization. Love is louder-founded by actress Brittany Snow, MTV, and The Jed Foundation-offers relief and support for individuals dealing with bullying, negative self-image, and depression. Because the plot and characters of Spring Awakening deal so heavily with these issues, the show makes the ideal platform to raise awareness and a sense of unity around the Love is Louder mission. The result is a new, exciting, and effective brand of theater for a cause-one that ignites and inspires.
Don't let the "concert" title fool you. This is not your typical "actors reading off of scripts and music stands" benefit. The show is fully cast, choreographed, and staged under the helm of director Kate Sullivan Gibbens. In all honesty, given the show's inherently sparse and abstract nature in terms of setting and staging, one can hardly tell the difference between this concert rendition and a full-scale production. The cast is superb. An entire ensemble of fresh faces and new (impressive) voices is a rare find in Los Angeles, and this bunch is not to be missed.
Johah Platt and Kelley Jakle give dynamic and evocative performances as the ill-fated lovers "Melchior" and "Wendla", and producer Topher Rhys shines as tragic "Moritz". The only complaint from this production is actually its most impressive asset: the band. Comprised of eight pieces (not including the occasional guitar and keyboard accompaniment from the cast), including a viola, violin, and cello-the musicians assembled onstage are quite a sight (and sound) to behold, particularly given the limited space inside the 199-seat Hayworth Theatre. The immense sound of the band in such tight quarters really does justice to Duncan Sheik's Tony-winning score, while at times drowning out Steven Slater's lyrics. But this is a small grievance in what is otherwise a rather remarkable production. Playing through this weekend only, Glorystruck's Spring Awakening in Concert is sure to make LA's love for this musical louder than ever.
Spring Awakening in Concert runs Friday & Saturdays at 9pm, Sunday at 8pm through July 29th. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by visiting www.springawakeninginconcert.com.
From This Author Amber Cassell