By: Taylor Roberts ~Staff Writer~
Xavier University’s Director of Theatre, Stephen Skiles, and the cast of ‘Spring Awakening’ brought teenage angst to life in four bold performances last weekend in the Gallagher Student Center Theater. This final production of Xavier Theatre’s 2014-15 season reminded the audience just how tough it is to grow up.
This Tony Award-winning musical adapted from a 1891 German tragedy by Frank Wedekind pulled at the audience’s heartstrings like a puppeteer as the characters struggled through controversial issues, such as child abuse, rape, homosexuality, suicide and abortion. The musical takes place in 19th century Germany with thecast donning attire from that time period.
Senior Alice Trent’s light design energized the scenes while senior Alana Yurczyk’s set design provided the essential amount of background support for the cast without distracting from their performance. With music by Duncan Sheik and lyrics by Stephen Sater, Dee Anne Bryll successfully choreographed a show that balanced sensual displays of affection with laugh out loud spectacles of teenagers exploring their sexuality.
While the girls out-danced the boys in their musical numbers, the choreography enhanced “Spring Awakening” as a whole. Junior Tyler Kuhlman made a marvelous Melchior, the most gifted student in his class. Kuhlman nailed his delicate solos and still managed to meld with the rest of the cast in the more rebellious numbers such as “The Bitch of Living” and “Totally F**ked.” Cast as the foil to Melchior, junior Griff Bludworth proved to be effective in his role as Moritz, an underachiever mortified to the point of distraction by his bodily functions. He sang a spectacular solo in act two, “Don’t Do Sadness.”
One of the most compelling performances came from junior Maya Farhat in her role as Wendla, a naïve girl with limited knowledge on adult relationships. She opened the show with a captivating solo in “Mama Who Bore Me” and an exquisite rendition of “Those You’ve Known” with Kuhlman and Bludworth.
Others whose contributions led to a strong ensemble included sophomore Stephanie Ambrose (Martha), junior Mary Bond (Anna), senior Megan Hostetler (Ilse), sophomore Aaron Krick (Ernst), junior Brandon Langjahr (Otto), sophomore Ryan O’Toole (Georg), junior Elizabeth Rancourt (Thea) and senior Alex Spindler (Hanschen).
Juniors Sean Burlingame and Molly Hiltz stole the show in their roles as various adult figures during the performance. They found laughter and sorrow in the scheming and abusive nature of adults as interpreted in this musical. The Xavier Theater’s 2014- 15 season ended in success with their production of “Spring Awakening” that had the audience guffawing and wiping tears from their eyes at the intense issues addressed in this coming-of-age musical.
For more information on other Department of Music and Theatre performances, visit xavier.edu/theatre.