Don’t let its title fool you – the Tony Award-winning musical SPRING AWAKENING, playing now through July 8 at the Keegan Theatre in Dupont Circle, is no light-hearted walk in the park. It is an emotional and thought-provoking story, which, combined with a wonderful and haunting score, makes it an unforgettable experience.
One of the interesting things about the Keegan Theatre is its small size. At first, I wasn’t sure how that would work with a show that wasn’t necessarily written for a smaller venue, but the theater actually added an intimacy to the show that worked very well. The actors often entered and exited through the center aisle and I felt like I was right there in the middle of the story with them.
One audience member commented, “I saw this show when it was at the Kennedy Center three years ago, and I think I liked it better in this small space!”
The cast is quite young, with the exception of Charlotte Akin and Jon Townson, who play the Adult Women and Adult Men roles superbly. The young talent is impressive, with lead actors Ali Hoxie as Wendla and Vincent Kempski as Melchior standing out in particular.
The live musicians play their hearts out in the Keegan Theatre, and it shows. I found myself humming several of the songs in the car on the way home, a sure sign that the show had made a lasting impression.