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Spring Awakening
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Reviewed on 2009-10-06
Broadway Across America brings the national touring company of the Tony Award-winning musical to the Music Hall in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, from October 13-18. Individual tickets may be purchased online ( ), at the Music Hall box office and group tickets by telephone at 1-866-928-7469.

This groundbreaking new musical played on Broadway for over two years. It has been described as a celebration of the journey from youth to adulthood with a power, poignancy and a passion that audiences will never forget. It is based on a controversial play written more than a century ago by Frank Wedekind. The setting is a provincial German town in 1891. It was considered so daring in its depiction of rape, abortion, child abuse, masturbation and homosexuality that it was banned from the stage. It concerns teenagers going through puberty and discovering their sexuality. The musical explores issues that are still relevant today. It has been hailed as a cross-generational phenomenon that transcends age and cultural barriers.

The world portrayed on stage is one where the grown-ups hold all the cards. There is tension in the air for a dozen adolescents in their repressive community. They express in the songs the possibility of freedom, hope for a better future and experience an exhilarating immediate release from their confusing and restrictive lives. They try to find their way through the thrilling, painful, awkward, rebellious and joyful time of their awakening. The story not only illuminates the feelings of these young people as puberty changes their bodies, but also the role that adults take in raising teenagers. The challenge of finding a way to being responsive to their needs, empowering them with biological truths and guiding them with love and understanding as they mature into adulthood lies at the center of the presentation.

This cautionary tale about what can happen in the absence of guidance and compassion is combined with a folk-infused rock musical score. The play's main focus is the beautiful and haunting love story between two young people who (like Romeo & Juliet) find each other, fall in love and passionately yearn to be together forever. However, they find themselves at the mercy of a repressive society that might ultimately keep them apart. The teachers, clergy and parents depicted in the show are either afraid to discuss or determined to ignore the sexually-related topics. This failure to educate leads to painful and confusing consequences.

"Spring Awakening" received eleven 2007 Tony Award nominations and won in eight categories including best musical, book, original score, choreography and lighting design. The book and lyrics were written by Steven Sater and the music is attributed to composer Duncan Sheik.

The musical is recommended for mature audiences (age 16 and over) due to its strong language, nudity and sexual situations. Reviews have found the production entertaining, thought-provoking and insightful. The show’s characters and major plot points should start meaningful conversations between parents and their sons and daughters about sexual identity and yearning bodily impulses.

Preview By:
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"


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