Friday, October 24, 2008

Spring Awakening, winter closing

Another day, another announcement that a Broadway show I love is closing. This time, it's Spring Awakening, the 2007 Tony winner for Best Musical, which will end its run at the Eugene O'Neil Theatre on Jan. 18, after a total of 888 performances.

Sigh. First Spamalot announces a closing date (although I have to admit I wasn't a huge fan when I saw it on tour), then Hairspray does the same and now Spring Awakening. I know Broadway is cyclical and there are new shows waiting in the wings. But still, I thought Spring Awakening had enough life left in it to hang on for awhile longer.

I saw Spring Awakening last summer as the final show in my seven-musicals-in-five-days marathon and I loved it. Honestly, I wasn't sure whether it would appeal to me. I mean, anxiety and sexual awakening among teenagers in 19th-century Germany didn't exactly sound like my plate of bratwurst.

But I loved the vibrant rock 'n' roll score by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater. I loved the incredible energy and vitality of the young cast, including John Gallagher Jr., Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff. And I loved Bill T. Jones' thrilling choreography in numbers like "The Bitch of Living" and "Totally F***ed."

Even though some elements of the plot were fairly predictable, I got totally swept up in the story of these teenagers and their lives, to the point where I was in tears at the end.

Then, I met the gracious and talented cast at the stage door. The actors were all extremely generous with their time. This was after a Wednesday matinee, when they'd have to come back and do an evening show and meet a whole new group of fans afterward.

It was just the perfect way to end a trip to New York City. This may sound strange given my love for the show, but the day was so perfect, I don't think I want to see Spring Awakening again on Broadway. Don't get me wrong, there are some shows that I'd love see again with a new cast. But I want to keep the memory of that wonderful afternoon as a unique experience.

Spring Awakening is in the midst of its first national tour. I'll see it when it comes my way next year. And I'm glad a whole new crop of fans, who couldn't make it to New York, will have a chance to experience the show.

But there was just something so special about seeing the show on Broadway, with its original cast, then having a chance to meet the actors at the stage door afterward, that can never quite compare.


Dale said...

I would have thought it'd be around much longer too. It blew me away when I saw it with the original cast and then again not long after. It's coming to Toronto in the next while so I may just check out the touring group as well.

The staging, music and top notch performances all combined to make magic in my brain both times I saw it. The soundtrack's gotten heavy play on my mp3 player as well.

Esther said...

Dale, I definitely agree with your description - the music, the staging, the performances, were terrific. It was just an exhilarating couple of hours of theatre. It was so different from any of the other shows I saw that week. At times, I felt like I was in a little club watching a hot new band. I thought, this is what it must have felt like when people saw "Hair" for the first time. I'll be interested to see if I get the same charge when I see the touring company next year.

Anonymous said...


This is such a sad day.

I absolutely love the show. It speaks to my soul like no other show I've seen before. I felt the exact same way, about the plot. But now, now, I am near obsessed with it. It's musical score is phenomenal, like no other I've heard before.

But, you know, with a show so widely popular, succesful, and amazing, a part of me says, "How is it possible that there won't be a revival?"

I know that there will be one. At least, I have faith. And when there is, I'll be there. I never got a chance to see the Broadway cast, so i'm settling for tour tickets. But iff there is a revival, nay, WHEN there is a revival, I'll buy tickets. No matter what, I'll be in the audience on opening night.

But until then, I'm just going to just listen to the music, see the tour, and make do other ways.

It's times like this that I feel that there's something wrong with Broadway- something that makes perfectly good shows go under. I feel as though it is unfortunate that it is being shut down. But, still, as I've previously said, I have faith in Broadway.

And I will sing the song of Purple Summer.

Esther said...

Hi Moritz, thanks for the comment. Yeah, I really wish Spring Awakening could have stuck around longer. It's so energetic and it's got a great rock 'n' roll score. I'll always have a terrific memory of seeing it on Broadway with its original cast. But I'm also planning to take in the tour. I know the closing is sad for so many people but it's great that a piece of theatre touched you the way this did.