Monday, January 25, 2016

theatre review - SPRING AWAKENING - Spotlight Youth Theatre - January 17, 2016

Michael Schulz, Payton Bioletto, Vincent Pugliese, Brandon Reyes, and Jeremy Yampolsky
Photo by Alayne Vogel, Memory Layne Photography
Click here for more information on this production that runs through January 31st.

"The Tony winning rock musical Spring Awakening focuses on a group of high school students in 1890s Germany and deals with issues that young adults still encounter today, such as sexual awakening and teen suicide. This very adult show is receiving a terrific production from Spotlight Youth Theatre with an age appropriate cast of teenagers who excel as the young students who struggle to find the truth about life....While director Kenny Grossman, choreographer Lynzee 4man, and the SYT creative team model their efforts on the original Broadway production team's contributions, all of whom were nominated for Tony Awards (winning three), Grossman's team also adds plenty of original touches....4man's energetic, athletic, and stylistic moves are natural expressions of the emotions the teens are dealing with. ...Mark 4Man is one of the best music directors in town and his contributions here are stellar, achieving both a lush sound with rich harmonies from the cast and a full, superb sound from the five-piece band. Also, the intimacy of the SYT space pulls the audience into the emotional content of the show in a way that you just can't get from a big Broadway theater or some of the other larger venues in town. The SYT cast is exceptional, featuring some of the best teen talent in the Valley. Payton Bioletto is Wendla and she plays her in such a naïve, heartbreaking way that you can't help but feel for her and the struggles she encounters. ...Vincent Pugliese instills Melchior with plenty of charm and his handsome, boyish looks and pure voice make it easy to see why so many people are drawn to the character. ...Sam Primack as Moritz perfectly captures the anxiety-ridden nature of the part with a wild hairstyle that is completely in sync with the inner feelings of the character. ...The supporting cast is just as good, including some who have amazing voices. ......Husband and wife Brenda and Ken Goodenberger play the Adult Women and Adult Men. They effectively give each character they play new manners and a different diction or speech pattern to set them apart from the other characters they play....Spring Awakening is a powerful and meaningful show...Presenting this award winning show uncut and complete, with appropriate high school aged actors playing the main roles, adds an entirely new layer to a great story that presents many issues that still resonate today. Spotlight Youth Theatre's production of Spring Awakening is simply stunning."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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