Spring theatre series closes with an awakening
April 8, 2014
What should patrons expect from a musical dubbed “famously hot-blooded?” The Squires Studio Theatre will sizzle during the School of Performing Arts’ final production in the 2013-14 Mainstage Theatre Series with the coming-of-age rock musical “Spring Awakening.”
The show opens April 13 at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances April 15-19 at 7:30 p.m., April 21-26 at 7:30 p.m., and April 27 at 2 p.m.
Set in Germany in 1891, the play follows the disenchanted Melchior Gabor, played by Tom Fenninger of Vienna, Va., a sophomore double-majoring in theatre in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and marketing in the Pamplin College of Business, and the naive Wendla Bergman, played by Chelsea Zeidman of Leesburg, Va., a sophomore majoring in human development and minoring in theatre in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, as they grapple with their first brushes with teenage lust and its powerful repercussions.
Their friends Moritz Stiefel, played by Alex Garretson of Rockville, Md., a senior majoring in wildlife science in the College of Natural Resources and Environment and minoring in theatre in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and Ilse Neumann, played by Emily Brown of Warrenton, Va., a sophomore double-majoring in English and communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and the rest of the large cast tackle multiple consequences of sexual repression and ignorance - some tragic, some humorous and familiar. “Our students were in high school when this musical was on Broadway. It’s their coming-of-age musical,” said director Susanna Rinehart.
“Spring Awakening” is based on a late 19th century German play with the same title, which was written by Frank Wedekind and banned in Germany for a period because of its content. “The musical makes us realize how far we have not come,” said Rinehart. “Sexual ignorance, taboos, and shaming are still with us in less overt ways over one hundred years later. We are still incredibly conflicted about how to teach children about growing up.”
The musical features a cast of 19 singers and eight musicians. “They are really a joyful and talented group. The subject matter requires them to reach deep in some places, and they are doing so with a real sense of ownership and courage. I really admire that,” said Rinehart.
Duncan Sheik wrote the music and Steven Sater wrote the book and lyrics for the rock and roll musical adaptation of “Spring Awakening” in the late 1990s. The production opened on Broadway in 2006, staring Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff from the popular prime time television series "Glee." The Broadway production was the winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and the original cast album received a Grammy Award.
“What I love most in this adaptation is that the musical has found a way to express the internal life of the teenage characters. Music adds a heightened emotion that bypasses our brain and hits us in our gut. This production has a profound capacity to reach into the complicated hearts and minds of adolescents coming into their mature sexual selves, and of their parents,” said Rinehart.
"Spring Awakening" contains mature subject matter and may not be appropriate for all audiences.
Tickets are $10 general, $8 senior and student, and may be purchased at the Student Centers and Activities Ticket Office on the first floor of Squires Student Center, or by calling 540-231-5615. Tickets will also be available at the box office beginning one hour prior to the performance. Discounted seats are available with the purchase of 5 or more tickets to any combination of performances in the School of Performing Arts 2013-14 season. The season includes the Visiting Artist Series, Ensemble Performance Series, and Mainstage Theatre productions.
Squires Theatre is located in the Squires Student Center at 290 College Ave. on the campus of Virginia Tech. Free parking is available on weekends and after 5 p.m. weekdays in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Streets, in the Architecture Annex Lot on Otey Street, and the Perry Street/Prices Fork lots. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200. Alternative parking is available in the Kent Squire parking garage and the Farmers Market metered parking lot, both located on Draper Road. Additional downtown Blacksburg parking information can be found online.