A twisted tale of passion in a bygone age of innocence, Spring Awakening is, as cast member Michael Stoyanoff puts it, “not for the close-minded.”
Heralded by The New York Times in 2006 as a “brave new musical, haunting and electrifying by turns,” the now Tony-award winning Spring Awakening is set to open Feb. 10 at The Emerald Theatre in Mount Clemens.
Brought to The Emerald by Mount Clemens-based What’s That Smell? productions, the shocking rock musical features an all-local cast from Macomb County communities including St. Clair Shores and Macomb Township.
Set in 19th-century Germany, this musical adaptation of the controversial Frank Wedekind play of the same name follows several teens as they explore and confront issues of sex, abortion, homosexuality, rape, child abuse and suicide, at a time when their adult counterparts consider these subjects taboo.
“Trust me,” said director Rodel Salazar, in a prepared statement. “The story may come from 1891, but this show is 100 percent today. The music, the subject matter, the language ... it all reflects today’s world.”
It is this timeless appeal that cast member Stoyanoff said he believes will draw younger viewers to the show.
“This is a show for high school kids who want to be entertained, but also to learn something,” the 24-year-old Macomb Township actor said. “Teens can take away that they shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions–that discovering things for themselves doesn’t always turn out well. The high school crowd needs the reinforcement that it’s OK to ask questions. It’s OK to be confused.”
While Stoyanoff, as Otto, portrays one of the many “teen” characters in Spring Awakening, fellow Macomb Township resident Gabriella Myers commands all of the production’s “adult women” roles. By casting only two individuals to play all the adult roles, the show is able to further highlight the impenetrable silence shared by all adults and so tortuous to the plot’s teen players.
Asking all the questions you were too afraid to put to mom and dad, the show is a poignant, erotic, tragic and sensual telling of the transition from youth to adulthood–a narrative the cast is itching to bring to local audiences.
“We have a very, very good cast,” Stoyanoff said. “This show has come a long way since the beginning. Now that we’re coming down to the wire, I think we really have something special. We’ve worked hard and it shows in the music and the acting.”
This show is being music directed by Eleonore Ellero-Groth, of St. Clair Shores, and features the professional debut of fellow Shorian Brittany Michael.
And for those who remember the sound issues associated with past productions at the Emerald, Spring Awakening producer John Forlini assures that this show will have none of those technical glitches.
“We had quite a bit of sound problems,” Forlini said of last summer’s production of RENT. “We had issues with our cordless microphones and The Emerald system. For this show, we are bringing in a whole new professional sound system so the show will not only look awesome ... but sound awesome too.”
The show runs Feb. 10-12 and 16-17 at 7 p.m. at The Emerald Theatre, 31 N. Walnut, Mount Clemens.
Tickets for Spring Awakening are $25 for reserved seating and $20 for general admission. A portion of every ticket sold will be donated to Turning Point, an organization that provides programs and resources for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and homelessness.
Call 586-954-2311 to reserve tickets.