Reviewed by Kevin Pollack
Having gone to Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre Many times over the years, their newest venture is the controversial Tony-Award winning musical “Spring Awakening” with music by 90’s pop/rock composer Duncan Sheik and lyricist Steven Sater. It is the winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical.
This amazing production, which is directed and choreographed by Marriott Artistic Director Aaron Thielen, is literally one of the coolest shows I’ve seen at Marriott so far. Typically, Marriot’s shows are in the round, but for this specific show, they blocked off the section where the orchestra usually is, and build a stage upon it, with the band/orchestra onstage with the actors. It made it a lot easier to hear with them.
The show, which is about sexual adolescence in Germany is based on a play by Frank Wedekind and the cast brought out their A-game for this.
Led by the stellar Patrick Rooney as Melchior, the cast also had outstanding performances from Eliza Palasz as Wendla, Ben Barker as Moritz, Betsy Stewart as Ilse, Liam Quealy as Georg, Nick Graffagna as Ernst, Brian Bohr as Hanschen, Nate Lewellyn as Otto, Elizabeth Stenholt as Thea, Tiffany Tatreau as Anna, Adhana Cemone Reid as Martha, and playing the 2 adults in the show are veteran Chicago actors Kevin Gudahl and Hollis Resnik. Other members of the ensemble include Caleb Blaze, Anna Blanchard, Derek Hasenstab, Callie Johnson and Garrett Lutz.
As an ensemble, it’s one of the strongest ensembles I’ve seen assembled on the Marriott stage. With a limited set using pipes, benches and platforms and using projections on the back wall, Thielen immerses the audience into the story and brings these characters to life including the mentally-disturbed Moritz, the rebel Melchior and the naïve Wendla. Together, Melchior and Wendla explore the lessons about love and sex that were never taught to them by their elders.
As this show is pretty graphic, showing BDSM, sexual intercourse onstage and other surprises, I highly recommend keeping an open mind when going to see this show. As I looked out on the audience, mostly comprised of older patrons, I was able to see the uncomfortable looks on their faces when those moments arose onstage.
“Spring Awakening” is a show on its own level and you should definitely go experience story of love and loss, especially coming from an adolescent point of view. There are only 2 more weeks to see this limited-run show!
WARNING: “Spring Awakening” is Rated R: Contains mature/sexual language, themes & content.
The productions runs Thursdays-Sundays through January 31st for a Limited Run.
For more info and how to get tickets visit www.marriotttheatre.com