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Review of CenterStage’s Spring Awakening: A New Musical

Every spring, many of us retell the story of the Exodus in our homes during Passover Seder. We include in the telling the ceremony of the 12 plagues in Egypt where we dip our fingers into the wine and recite those plagues which freed the Jews from Egypt. In Spring Awakening: A New Musical I feel like we do the same thing only without the wine and ceremony: Teacher Brutality. Child abuse. Incest. Masochism. Sadism. Ignorance. Cowardice. Cruelty. Intolerance. Masturbation. Suicide. Pregnancy.

This is a story both old and new. It is older than Romeo and Juliet and as current as Westside Story, Rebel Without a Cause and perhaps, without too much of a stretch, Miley Cyrus. Spring Awakening is set in Germany in the late 19th century and tells the tale of young people trying to come of age under oppressive circumstances. It is a tragedy that, in the end, is affirming yet heartrending, intensely individual yet achingly universal.

Highlights of CenterStage’s production are Wendela’s opening song “Mama Who Bore Me” sung by Lauren McCombs, “The Bitch of Living” sung by Moritz and Georg, played by Kyle Braun and Mitch Donahue and, especially, the anthem of most teenagers, “Totally F*****d,” sung by Melchior and Otto, played by Austin Lauer and Timothy Struck. This is an effective evocation of the pain, pride and passion of growing up. It is well worth seeing.

Be sure and sign up for season tickets which include the next play, the glorious Chicago, September 4-20. For information about the entire season or to purchase tickets, go to www.CenterStageJCC.org.

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