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Awakening to life and love

Randy Wyrickrwyrick@vaildaily.comVail CO Colorado
Special to the Daily/Andy Snow
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========”Spring Awakening” is about love and sex and how they’re not always the same thing, but sometimes they are.”Spring Awakening” is a coming-of-age musical production that won the 2007 Tony Award for best Musical. It’ll be in the Vilar Center tonight.Let’s be clear, “Spring Awakening” is unabashed and frank. It contains vulgar language and nudity, honesty and lies, love and lust, confusion and clarity – all the stuff of life.It’s a powerful youthapalooza dealing with sex as the primitive, life-changing force that it is, not as the nasty pastime casually portrayed in modern pop culture.”Spring Awakening” will make adults blush to remember it all, and teens squirm a little to anticipate it all.It will make you think and feel, and again realize that they’re not the same thing, either.”I’ve seen it several times on Broadway and again at the Buell. It’s amazing and fortunate that they’re bringing it here,” said Annah Scully with the Vail Performing Arts Academy.Yes, it’s controversial, but it’s worth it, Scully said.The cast is all young people, except for two adults.The awakening in “Spring Awakening” is the awakening of hormones and what happens when they kick in during those teen years.”If you have teenagers, these are topics that are very difficult to talk about. Adults will remember what it was like. It’s poetic and haunting, and speaks to everyone, but especially to families with teens,” Scully said.Scully has seen it many times. She feels so strongly about it that she hauled some of her Vail Performing Arts Academy students to New York City to see it. She followed that with a similar trip by the Battle Mountain High School dance team.Scully knows someone who knew someone and she got to watch backstage as the Broadway production was created.”They were so worried that it would be too much for general audiences,” Scully said. “I told them it was amazing and powerful and that it would win Tony Awards. And it did!”What ‘Spring Awakening’ is about”Spring Awakening” is based on the 1891 play by Frank Wedekind, and was so controversial it was banned for nearly 100 years. The music was written by pop star Duncan Shiek, with lyrics by Steven Sater.The theme has served the theater well through the ages: two young lovers find each other, in rather vivid fashion.The piece deals with the angst of discovering ones sexuality in a time of sexual repression.Set in late-19th century Germany, “Spring Awakening” follows a group of adolescent adults discovering the inner and outer turmoil of dealing with sexuality.The girls are led by blossoming Wendla Bergmann, who wants to know where babies come from. Her mother, too embarrassed, refuses and tells her to conceive a child a woman must love her husband with all of her heart. Unconvinced, together the girls lament. The boys are led by the rebellious, handsome and intelligent Melchior Gabor, who proclaims that he intends to change the society he lives in. He believes it starts with knowledge, including the knowledge of sex, which he happily bestows to the boys.As the play unfolds, boys and girls get together with results both wonderful and terrible.While it’s set in the 19th century, the music is modern-day indie rock.The cast is dressed in costumes of that period, and they pull microphones from their wool jackets and start belting out rock songs.”It points to how people have been going through this for generations,” Scully said. “It’s not just people in the modern era.”Conversations and feedback”Spring Awakening” has enjoyed a successful Broadway run and is now on tour. Part of its success stems from the conversations it tends to start, and the feedback it sparks.”The feedback that we’ve had has been remarkable,” says producer Tom Hulce. “Kids have found one of a dozen different things in the play to be particularly meaningful to them that give them either a hope they didn’t have before, or an understanding they didn’t have before, or an ability to talk to people that they didn’t have before. It’s so extraordinary to know that in a very particular way, this piece has the ability to shift someone’s experience and to ability to speak out about their own experiences.”


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