The Washington Post: Spring Awakening

In a taut and stirringly acted version of the Steven Sater-Duncan Sheik musical “Spring Awakening,” based on Frank Wedekind’s 1891 drama, adolescent characters grapple with sexuality and rage at the repressive adult world … Co-directors Mark A. Rhea and Susan Marie Rhea’s production of the Tony-winning musical features a cast of gifted young actors who turn in eloquent portraits of passion, frustration and vulnerability. In the show’s opening sequence, the heroine Wendla (Ali Hoxie) cuts a wistful figure as she stands on a terrace, unleashing the yearning in the number “Mama Who Bore Me.”

As is the case with other performers in the production, Hoxie has a melodious voice that will no doubt gain strength later in her career. Music director and pianist Jake Null leads the fine 10-person orchestra, which sits onstage, beneath the terrace.”

Minutes later, on the stage’s main level, schoolboy characters in gray uniforms storm through the song “The B—- of Living,” stomping on the floor, brandishing chairs like shields and, in the case of one performer, bouncing — soles of the feet making contact, body horizontal — off the theater’s side wall. (Assistant director Kurt Boehm is choreographer.) The energy that surges through this number — and through Allan Sean Weeks’s rock-concert lighting design — courses, subtly or obviously, through the entire production.

Vincent Kempski is particularly charismatic as the smart, mutinous hero Melchior…The vocally gifted Paul Scanlan brings a persuasive desperation and restlessness to the misfit Moritz, Nora Palka is poignantly scarred and waifish as the outcast Ilsa, and Sarah Chapin radiates trauma as an abused girl named Martha.

Read the Full Review at The Washington Post