Teenage sexuality is never an easy subject to cover. But Stray Dog Theatre in St. Louis took the challenge in performing Spring Awakening. This Ballad of the Birds and the Bees offered a great story line, great music, and that awkward “should I laugh?” feeling way before Stray Dog got their paws on it.. For the second time!
As soon as you walk in to Tower Grove Abbey you are greeted by a beautiful set by Robert M Kapeller. Lights glisten above the stage to give it a very nice starry effect. The back wall is designed to resemble a barn wall, with an arsenal of string instruments on display. A different concept of having the orchestra (Piano, Guitar, Bass, Cello, Drums, Violin, and Viola) all onstage really added to the atmosphere of the show by strategically showcasing the instruments, but never taking away from the acting in front of them.
The show follows the story of a group of hormonal teenagers in a late 19th century sexually oppressive society which then leads to the teens curiosity, and ignorance, in the field of love. Riley Dunn and Allison Arana assume the gender leads, Melchoir Gabor and Wendla Bergman, and send the cathedral into a spiral of love, loss, and laughter. The whole cast keeps up the pace in the first act with amazing youthful energy, and spectacular voices. The second act had a much different pace after introducing the dark side of love, and humanity, in which the strong acting abilities dazzled in the cast as they showed pure emotion every step of the way.
Musically, Stray Dog had an amazing orchestra to tag along the depth of insanely talented singers including Dunn and Arana, Luke Steingruby (Hanschen), Stephen Henley (Moritz), Brigid Buckley(Martha), and there’s plenty more names to go onto the list!
Productions of the original play were often banned or censored for rather obvious reasons, given the era in which they were performed. And Stray Dog keeps it rated R with a devoted cast to bring you foul language, suggestive scenes, and bared butts all packed into a 2 and a half hour masterpiece on stage. If you’re sitting in an isle seat, you better be a hugger!
Stray Dog has 10 performance dates for Spring Awakening over the next 3 weeks. Oct 5-7, 12-14,19-21. All shows begin at 8 P.M. You don’t want to miss out on this outstanding show, get your tickets now at straydogtheatre.org before they run out!