Best of the music of “Spring Awakening”
Washington University’s Performing Arts Department debuts its fall musical, “Spring Awakening,” this weekend in Edison Theatre on Friday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. With book and lyrics by Wash. U. alumnus Steven Sater, the awesome rock ballads of “Spring Awakening” promise to speak to an audience full of tuckered-out students and hyper-attentive parents. While the musical took the theatrical world by storm, earning eight Tony awards in 2007, it has also gained popularity among the masses. “The music can range from angst-y to hopeful, from sad to sexual, all in one night of rehearsal,” Adam Cohen, a junior who plays Moritz, said. For those who aren’t already singing “Mama Who Bore Me” in the shower, the cast weighed in on some of the songs to get excited for:
“The B—- of Living”
The boys of “Spring Awakening” rock out together about the struggles of growing up horny in a sexually stifled world. “It’s the b—- of living/Nothing but your hand,” sing the boys in unison as they cycle through their confusion: crushes on teachers and classmates, masturbation, and wet dreams. “All the guys are going crazy in it…in this testosterone-laden way,” Cohen said. The boys pound out, “God, is this it?” in a wild, ear-splitting harmony above the crunch of guitar and drums. The song is meant to give the audience energy but also to throw the frustration and discord of the world of “Spring Awakening” in their face. The song is sure to hook non-musical fans, especially with its best line, describing classmate Bobby Mayler: “He’s the best/Looks so nasty in those khakis.”
“Don’t Do Sadness”/“Blue Wind”
Cohen and senior Ariel Saul, who plays Ilse, sing a beautiful duet about the loss of innocence through experience and the tender time in teens’ lives when they begin to learn how to cope—or not. “I don’t do sadness…Just don’t need it in my life,” Moritz sings as he rises from the bottom of his range to the top within one page of music during this heart-wrenching and beautiful number. Moritz’s jaded lyrics and edgy rock voice contrast Ilse’s quiet, soulful reverie and vocal cry in a painful but simply lovely way. She is the sad wind left beneath his wings: “A little summer wind/Like once through everything and then away again.” Their final, airy chord seems to float away, making the audience suddenly aware that Moritz and Ilse’s gorgeous harmony is gone—and that they may never see it again.
“The Song of Purple Summer”
“It’s a very appropriate song to wrap up the show…because it talks about hope,” Saul said. Despite the angst, anger and sadness in this show, it is a vessel of hope: hope for society to change, hope for old wounds to heal and hope for a new day to come for the characters of “Spring Awakening.” The cast gushed over the introduction of a drum set to the piece during rehearsals. “I definitely jumped one of my lines [during rehearsal] because I got so into it,” Connor Duermit, a junior playing Melchior, said.
“It was just a surge of energy that came over everyone. Everyone couldn’t stop smiling, and we were all just rocking out the first time the drums came in,” Saul agreed. The song is sweeter and smoother than the rest of the power ballads in “Spring Awakening.”
Led by Ilse, the entire cast sings, “All shall know the wonder of purple summer,” and all audience members shall know the wonder that is “Spring Awakening,” too.