In the first production of the spring theater season, Missouri Western gave us Spring Awakening, and subsequently had one of the best opening night performances I’ve ever seen.
Before I go any further, if you want to see this play yourself they have three more performances: March 1, 2 and 3 at 7:30 p. m. in Potter Theatre. If you have not seen the play, please don’t continue as this does have spoilers and knowing what’s going to happen before it happens is horrible in any movie/play but even worse in this play, trust me, you’ve been warned.
The crew for this play did amazing at keeping the play running smoothly, with Stage Director Rachel Segbawu heading that up. From the lighting to the microphones to moving the set pieces, everything went off without a hitch.
The leads of the play were Melchior and Wendia, Melchior played by Jalen Redmond while Wendia was played by Mycah Williams. While Williams has been in a few productions this is her first time being a lead in a major production at Western. The same goes for Redmond, and they both did amazing.
Standing beside these people was Thomas Delgado who got cast in this play as Moritz. Delgado is a former Western theater student and on his return to the stage did great things.
Other regulars on the stage like Kennedy Brock (Ilse), Dalyn LeGrand (Martha), Cooper Bald (Otto) and Abby Sexton (Thea) all put in great performances!
A problem with some musicals is that they focus so much on the singing that the acting is brushed aside or vice versa, but not this time. The play was very strong in its acting and when the singing began it was apparent they nailed that, too. Jacob Snow, who played Georg, was a voice that I, a choir student, was surprised about. I knew Redmond, Williams, Brock, LeGrand, Bald, etc. could sing but Snow did so well on that stage I was honestly taken aback and that doesn’t happen to me often.
The play is based in Germany right before the turn of the 20th century and is all about the rebellious atheist Melchior realizing his sexuality and trying to convince people not to conform to the churche’s norms of ignoring your sexual urges. It’s a little more complicated then that but it’s an intense play.
The play is mature and that’s evident in the fact that there is a suggestible rape scene, a lot of cursing, a lot of hitting, one dad who takes advantage of his daughter, one dad who beats his daughter, a failed abortion, a suicide, an attempted suicide and a lot of sexual hints. This play is not for anyone of young age, but as an older person this is an amazing play that although hard to watch at times, is necessary to see.
With all the serious and sad parts, this play also has its comedic parts. One song is about how Moritz is “Fucked” and that’s it. There are cleverly timed quips in there and a lot of joking anytime sex is brought up in a group.
And where would any good musical be without the band? Paul Hindemith did an amazing job with the band and the music along with the singing was amazing, Caleb Fankhauser on drums was my MVP for the band.
All in all this play was amazing, one of the best plays I’ve ever seen and I would recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of more mature and dark themes in their literature or their cinema.