Posts Tagged ‘Kennedy Center’

Spring Awakening Rocks The Roof Off Kennedy Center

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Spring Returning

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Spring Returning

I’m not really into musicals.

Even though I try and stay active in the DC theatre scene, I just prefer straight plays. My mind was soon changed when I saw Spring Awakening with PQ for my first show at the Kennedy Center.

I walked into the lavish performing center with minimal knowledge on the show’s background. What I found was a show that challenged everything I’d usually expect from a traditional musical. No large casts, no fancy backdrops, no grand orchestra to fill the pit. Instead what I saw was a small but dynamic ensemble; a stage bare except for an interpretive brick backdrop and bleachers on both sides (more on that later); and instead of a large orchestra, a house band of musicians.

The story revolves around a group of teenagers in 19th century Germany and explores their sexual coming of age as they make the change from youth to adulthood. Jake Epstein (fresh from DeGrassi and in his first musical tour) stars as Melchior, a student who’s more enlightened than his peers about the birds and the bees. Christy Altomare palys Wendla, a girl who starts the show asking her mother where do babies come from. The two meet and well, you can guess where it goes.

In other words it’s like American Pie but classier and with music and dance. I mean with song titles like “Touch Me”, “My Junk”, and “The Word of Your Body”; you know there’s going to be a lot of awkward teenage moments. What’s really amazing is that the story is based on Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play. Wedekind was really beyond his time.

The production has already won 8 Tony Awards, 3 Drama Desk Awards, a Grammy and other countless accolades. I can assure you that the show is worth every one too.

The story has been well adapted and contains plenty moments that will make you and the audience roar with laughter. The music by Duncan Sheik breaks the mold of traditional musical fare and makes the show resemble a rock opera more than a musical. The dance isn’t overly flowery but instead a form of restrained emotion and energy. Lots of stomping and jumping could play into a metaphor of the student’s newly found emotions and feelings, not to mention raging horomones.

With a strong entertaining story and bombastic musical performances, Spring Awakening is one of the most energizing pieces to come to DC this summer.

Spring Awakening will be performing at the Kennedy Center until August 2nd. Besides tickets in the house, you can also get tickets ON STAGE. A limited number of onstage seats are available at $35 from the Box Office or through Instant-Charge. They are not available online.  Onstage seating offers a side/rear-view of the performance, with the action of the show taking place all around you. When I saw the audience members on stage watching the show from feet away, I was thinking how cool it would be to get those tickets. For complete details on that, check out the Kennedy Center website.


Spring Awakening
Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theatre
July 7, 2009 – August 2, 2009
Tickets: 202-467-4600

Shear Madness I Tell You!

Its Madness! Shear Madness!

It's Madness! Shear Madness!

After 9,000 performances at the Kennedy Center, along with a ton of shows elsewhere, I must have been the only guy in the world who had not seen Shear Madness yet… until Saturday. It is an audience driven Barbershop murder mystery that touches on current events and pop culture to produce a hilarious, interactive exhibition. The actors have an amazing ability to separate their feelings from their characters, which creates an atmosphere friendly to back and forth jabs between those on-stage and in the crowd.

If you haven’t seen it yet, join the 8 million who have experienced Shear Madness. You will not regret the decision. Shows are Tuesday-Friday at 8pm, Saturdays at 6pm and 9pm, and Sundays at 3pm and 7pm. Tickets are $40 and you can order them online.

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