Review: Spring Awakening by Atlantis Productions

After feel good musicals Avenue Q and "Spelling Bee," my girlfriend and I watched the edgy award-winning Spring Awakening by Atlantis Productions.

The two-act musical is a coming-of-age story set in the late 19th century Germany, where a group of  teenagers deal with sex, parental abuse, and suicide. I was surprised to learn that the original material for the play was written in 1891-- it was filled with angst and youthful exuberance that I think was ahead of its time.

The music for the play is written by Duncan Shiek and his rock fingerprints are all over the musical score. You probably won't hear nice ear candy in this play as the songs are heavy and not too melodic. Here are some titles of the songs in the play: "Totally Fucked," "The Bitch of a Living," and "My Junk."

The cast was pretty so-so, as I felt they could have displayed more energy and polish in the performance I caught. Leads Joaquin Valdez (as Melchior), Kelly Lati (as Wendla), and Nicco Manalo (as Moritz) were OK but none stood out.

If you ask me, I found the play confusing and unsettling at first. I felt that the premise wasn't to clear in beginning and things became more apparent to me as the first act was coming to a close. Despite dropping occasional optimism in the play, Spring Awakening is a dark rock musical that kids should avoid because of the mature themes.