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Marriott Theatre’s “Spring Awakening” Is A Phenomenon

19-Jan-2016
Alli Doubek, Entertaining Chicago

I have a personal code when it comes to standing ovations. I believe that standing ovations have become the norm and that shouldn’t be the case. You give a standing ovation when you cannot contain yourself in your seat. When you have connected so much with a show that you literally have to leap up and express it. It is something that is rare for me to do (although I clap like a fiend for shows that I enjoy!), but the Marriott Theatre’s performance of Spring Awakening had me on my feet before I even knew what I was doing.

Spring Awakening is a provocative show that deals with many of the subjects that can relate to becoming a teenager. The urges your body feels that you don’t quite understand. Parents who are too embarrassed about their own issues to really explain yours. Other teens nudging you with peer pressure – both positive and negative. Self hatred and family secrets. Abuse, disappointment and feeling that you’re alone.

The show is set in the late 1800′s and while the language and cadence is appropriate for that time period, when each character delves inside to what they are thinking, there’s a shift. With microphone in hand, the characters sing about their feelings to a solid rock score or a heartfelt ballad. The layers of voices throughout will give you goosebumps (my favorite indicator that I love a show) and some of the songs (“Totally F**ked” and others) will have you laughing out loud.

The cast of Spring Awakening gelled in a way that made you feel that they owned this show. That the message, the score and the passion in each word was something they had to express as much as they wanted you to hear. I have enjoyed other performances at Marriott Lincolnshire, but what they did with this show was a departure, both in subject matter and bravery. It will speak to an entirely new audience in addition to – hopefully – it’s current patrons, which I believe is a good thing. Theatre is about creating and having an experience, and sometimes taking a risk can pay off in spades.

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