The national tour of "Spring Awakening" is about to open in San Francisco. Official opening is Sunday, September 7 -- the first three days are previews.
The two biggest things not related to tonight's performance but pertinent to the theater-going experience were: (a) Steven Sater (who wrote the book and lyrics) was two rows in front of us and across the aisle, sitting with a legal pad and taking notes; and (b) there was a 4-point-something earthquake late in the first act. At first I thought it was someone kicking the seats, and then I wasn't sure that it might not have been an earthquake. Then at intermission, the woman sitting behind us said, "Did you feel the quake?" So I guess that answered THAT question.
The show itself is very cool. It stays reasonably true to its source material, Franz Wedekind's play, "Spring's Awakening" -- it has no bizarre plot additions or omissions or alterations. Oddly enough, my only minor problem with the show was actually more a problem with myself -- for some reason, I felt that I would have enjoyed the show more if I was not familiar with the source play or with the songs. Knowing the material, I had some expectations. And whenever you have expectations, there's a strong likelihood that some of them won't be met. Which is not fair to the performers, because it means you're sometimes judging them based more on your expectations than on what they're actually doing.
The kids in the cast are terrific, both as singers and as actors. The two male leads have both performed these roles on Broadway, but most everyone else is either fresh out of school or "thrilled to be making their national tour debut."
The character who came across the most child-like was Moritz. Both Melchior and Wendla had a slightly more adult demeanor and self-awareness, but Moritz had a kind of innocent, sheltered, "growing up with a narrow world view that he hasn't quite figured out is so narrow" quality about him.
For the tour (or at least for the San Francisco run), the onstage seats sell for $30 each and are made available two hours before the performance each day, first come, first served. For more info, see the SHN website.
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