Sunday, July 8, 2012, Phil and I crossed the San Francisco Bay to have lunch with our friend Judith Lynch in Alameda, California.
to watch its production of Spring Awakening, book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik.
You might know Spring Awakening won eight Tony Awards in 2007, including Best Musical, and that it is based on a 1891 play by Frenk Wedekind.
Judith warned us, but Phil and I were surprised by the graphic language and very adult content of this musical, which includes masturbation, homosexuality, teen pregnancy and teen suicide in a sleepy German town at the end of the 19th century.
At the Altarena Playhouse, the audience sits around the stage arena-style, which afforded us an up-close view of the cast singing, dancing and whisking around props.
Under Frederick L. Chacon's direction, this stand-out cast of young actors shone. Leads Brendon North and Riley Krull were remarkable, bringing alive moment by moment the confusion, ecstasy, terror and rage of their characters.
Jordan Dong stood out as Martha, her voice clear, her emotions palatable. I sat close enough to the stage to see her peer into the eyes of each audience member around her, as she was singing.
Nikita Burshteyn was great as Georg/Dieter with a stupendous crush on his piano teacher. I think I left the Altarena Playhouse with a crush on Burshteyn.
Remember the names of this cast: Brendon North, Riley Krull, Jordan Dong, Nikita Burshteyn, Sarah Birdsall, Nathan Brown, Mackenzie Cala, Caleb Haven Draper, Charles Evans, Katie Robbins, Shauna Shoptaw, Steven Sloan, Kristina Stasi and Max Thorne. With their talent, hard work and a few nods from the Thesbian gods, this will be far from the last time you hear someone singing their praise.
Run - Don't walk! - to the Altarena Playhouse to see Spring Awakening. Run!