Spring Awakening is the must see production of the entire Ithaca College 2012-2013 main stage season, with fantastic performances of the catchy rock musical score and incredible acting. Directed by Norm Johnson, the musical follows a group of school children in late 19th century Germany that explores the darker aspects of sexuality, religion, and parental and societal pressures.
Coleman Hemsath, sophomore musical theatre major, stole my heart with his frank questioning of societal norms and charmingly rebellious attitude, as well as his gorgeous voice. Sarah Charles, senior musical theatre major, was stunning with both her theatrical and vocal performance, stealing the show and bringing me to tears in the song “Those You’ve Known.” The chemistry between Hemsath and Charles was magical, the song “The Word of Your Body” really illuminating that with beautiful choreography that showed the complete desperation of wanting to be with someone you love.
Freshman Musical Theatre major Johnny Shea is really going places, hitting it out of the park in his complex role of Moritz. I can’t wait to see him in future main stage productions. Senior Musical Theatre major Luke Hoback also stunned the audience with his remarkable voice. Yanna Lantz, senior acting major, and Joseph DePietro, senior musical theatre major, acted as comedic relief, doing a truly fantastic job in their roles of school headmasters. Other notable performances were by Senior Musical Theatre major Michael Kushner and Sophomore Acting major Stephen Humes.
Unfortunately, in an all-star cast, Senior Musical Theatre major Rebecca Kuznick had a flair for the melodramatics with her portrayal of the character Ilse. Her character was definitely in serious and heavy scenes but her occasional overacting took away from the sincerity and authenticity of the role.
However, the ensemble as a whole really worked well together and also had some energy packed, powerful group numbers — the most notable being “Totally Fucked.” The men’s group number, “The Bitch of Living” was also entertaining — the perfect amount of angst, crudeness and vivacity.
Very fittingly a topic about intimacy was set in the most intimate space in Dillingham Performing Arts Center: Clark Theatre. The set was also amazing with school papers all over a blackboard floor with chalk writings and designs that were added throughout the show. There was also a raised platform with entrance doors, the beam supports being made out of classroom chairs. The lights added to the experience, with spotlights and yellow lighting in the entrance doorway on the platform. Kudos to the set and light crew for creating such an eye-pleasing and multipurpose atmosphere that really brought the musical to new levels for the audience.
If you have ever lusted or loved; if you’ve ever felt tied down or the need to really experience something to truly live; if you have ever felt lost or confused, IC’s production of Spring Awakening is a beautiful musical tragedy that you will certainly be able to emotionally identify with.
Shows will be held April 2 through 6 at 8 p.m in Clark Theatre. Audiences are advised that the production contains mature language, sexual content, violence and partial nudity.