By Jeff Walsh
The last time I reviewed Spring Awakening, it was a week into its Broadway run. Since that time, it went on to become a runaway hit, netting 8 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and recently started its national tour in San Francisco.
Reading my old review again after seeing the touring production on opening night, my issues with the show remain. It hasn't lost any of its intensity and the songs are very familiar to me, but the dual nature of the show still never really gels to me, but I like both halves enough to still consider it a nice night out. Since I haven't really changed my mind on the show, you can read that original review for the show details and such.
The only other issue I had with the show are nothing new when seeing a touring show after first seeing the original cast on Broadway. When the people on the cast recording match the people you saw onstage and visualize when you're listening to the CD, it is always odd to see these "other" people saying the same lines, wearing the same clothes, and singing the same songs. That's nothing new with this show, and only happens when you strongly identify with the people you saw first perform the roles.
This is obviously not a ding on the touring cast. In fact, on opening night, the cast took three bows to a standing ovation and then left the stage. And the audience didn't move. They just stood there clapping, and clapping, never wavering, not starting to grab their coats, just standing and clapping until the cast returned to the stage for a fourth time, some of them clearly putting the costumes on that they had already started to take off backstage.
This is the first stop of a national tour. After San Francisco, it plays Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Tempe, Tampa, Houston, Des Moines, Minneapolis, St. Louis, East Lansing, Cleveland, Toronto, Providence, Boston, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington DC, so if any of those are near you, it's definitely worth your time.