a musical with book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik based on the play by Frank Wedekind
Ivy Tech Johan Waldron arts Center Auditorium
Ivy Tech Student Productions is presenting a fine production of Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s musical Spring Awakening based on the socially critical tragic romance of Frank Wedekind.
A very accomplished cast has all-star support. David Anspaugh a veteran of television and of Hoosiers and Rudy fame is the confident director. He’s clearly worked very effectively with choreographers Bailey Praeger and Matt Herndon.
Brian Samarzea music director of many area productions leads the cast, a group of additional voices and a nicely balanced mellow ensemble with support from sound designer Chris Aleexev. David Wade, the resident scenic designer for the Bloomington Playwrights Project has come up with still another new look for the Waldron. This time it’s a wide bare stage with audience in a semi-circle and the band visible in the back.
The only furniture is two hard working narrow tables and a pair of benches. The walls on either side have a variety of lights and combined with the regular theatre lighting make for dramatic effects in the hands of lighting designer Aaron Bowersox.
Costumes by Jessica Winkle are nicely uniform for the boys, varied for the girls and dramatically appropriate for the roles of the solo adult woman and man.
Wedekind’s play and the musical focus on the lack of education about sex as teen agers change and develop and the rigidity of education elsewhere in a stiffly formal society. Although it’s a tragic story as the heroine dies in an abortion it’s somehow not one that draws tears.
The spirited cast sang well, moved well and handled those tables and benches with aplomb.
Elizabeth Hutson was the sadly uninformed about sex Wendla. Kaila Day as Martha was one of the victims of the repressive society. Aubrey Marie Seader was the perky rebel.
Scott Van Wye was too well informed Melchior. Garrett Thompson was his too weak confidant. Joshua Carter and Kyle Mason did some very funny solo exploring. Justin Smusz and Benjamin Dow discovered themselves as a couple.
Holli Burnfield and Paul Daily were masterful, playing all the adults. Burnfield appeared as mothers to two of the characters, a rigid head mistress and a piano teacher. Daily was a stiff pedagogue, a head master, a father and a pastor.
Madelyn Allender, Grace Branam, Brian Kress, and Hayden Rich contributed to the texture with additional voices.
The Ivy Tech Student Production of Spring Awakening has two final performances. This Friday evening is already sold out. There were tickets for Saturday this afternoon
You may find this review, other reviews and previews at WFIU.ORG/ARTS
At the theatre for you, I’m George Walker.