And Spring Awakening, showing at the Lyric at the Plaza, is a Tony Awardwinning musical that explores the enduring theme of young love.
Awakening is the adaptation of a 1891 play written by German playwright Frank Wedekind. Director Michael Baron, who recently staged this production for the Zach Theatre in Austin, Texas, said he’s excited to present it to an Oklahoma audience.
“It’s interesting: the fact that the teenagers then had the same things go wrong for the same reasons as teens today,” said Baron. “It has some very powerful, controversial scenes, but it’s really quite beautiful. It’s a moral tale to prevent things that occur in the play, and it’s a lesson for us all.”
Aside from a few adults, the cast is composed of students from the University of Oklahoma, University of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University.
UCO sophomore Leah Coleman takes the lead as the teenaged Wendla, and OU freshman Kelly Methven performs the role of her lover, Melchior.
Wilson Kerr, also an OU freshman, plays Melchoir’s friend Moritz.
Period costuming is juxtaposed with an indie-rock score using piano, cello, electric guitar and percussion.
“We have a very haunting score that only gets richer upon repeat,” said Baron. “The songs aren’t narrative to the play. They’re more rock than musical theater. They deepen the show and capture all of the emotional expressions of what the characters are feeling.”
The play, dogged by controversy since it was first staged in 1906 in Berlin, was even decried as pornographic by some critics early in the 20th century.
Awakening deals with weighty subjects focused on the intimate transition from adolescence to adulthood and the pressures teens experience. If it were a film, the play would earn an R rating on account of sexually explicit scenes and strong language, organizers note.