Spring Awakening: A Bold Revival of Youth and Rebellion

Journey back to the tumultuous times of adolescence with the masterful musical, “Spring Awakening.” This iconic show, which dives deep into the exploration of teenage sexuality and other once-forbidden topics, originally swept Broadway, clinching eight Tony Awards in 2007, including Best Musical.

Now, it graces the stage at Montreal’s Monument National until June 15th, brought to life by the stellar production team from Contact Theatre ( Reefer Madness, Chicago, Bonnie and Clyde).

The cast , dressed in re-imagined nude colored daily wear of the late 19th century form a striking ensemble.

Under the inventive direction of Debora Friedmann, this performance places you right in the heart of the action, with a central stage surrounded by dynamic entrances at every corner, immersing you in the raw, unfiltered experiences of its young characters.

The simple yet versatile 360 degrees set design allows for fluid scene transitions and unique and up-close viewing angles, while the meticulously crafted lighting enhances the narrative and character dynamics.

Set at the close of the 19th century, “Spring Awakening” follows youths Wendla, Melchior, and Moritz through the stormy seas of puberty and sexual awakening.

Wendla, naive about the facts of life, contrasts dramatically with Melchior, a rebellious youth wise beyond his years. Meanwhile, Moritz, plagued by performance anxiety, nightmares and inner turmoil, finds himself driven to drastic measures at the close.

Friedmann’s stagecraft maximizes the studio-theater’s space, creating a convivial atmosphere where the audience feels intimately connected to the characters’ journey.

The modern, energetic choreography and elaborate costumes ( enhanced by retro-tech such as floppy disks ), further elevates the performance, adding layers of emotional depth to each character.

David Marino as Melchior and Éloïse Lagacé as Wendla

David Marino shines as Melchior, delivering a performance brimming with emotion and intensity. Audiences may remember Marino as a finalist on “La Voix” in 2017, where his captivating crooner voice first garnered attention.

Now, his matured voice resonates powerfully, especially during the haunting “Left Behind,” which is sure to give you chills.

Opposite him, Éloïse Lagacé portrays Wendla with a voice both tender and expressive, particularly in the heartfelt “Whispering.”

Their romantic duet, “The Word of Your Body,” exemplifies perfect vocal harmony that is both moving and impactful .

MORITZ performed by Mairead Rynne looks doefully over at Julie d’Entremont as MARTHA

In the role of Moritz, Mairead Rynne delivers a nuanced portrayal of the troubled teenager with a voice transitioning seamlessly from emotional subtlety to powerful high notes. Their performance in “And Then There Were None” is particularly striking, culminating in an intense finale.

In tandem with Ilse, their duet “Don’t Do Sadness/Blue Wind” is poignant, softening the impact of Moritz’s tragic decision.

Theodore Vlachos as HANSCHEN and Billy Iliopoulos as ERNST share a tender moment

As a whole , the entire cast excels, their harmonies in the group numbers were vibrant and cohesive, and the infused infectious energy for their ensemble works, especially in the high energy-fueled “The Bitch of Living,” is palpable.

My personal favorite song of the evening “Totally Fucked” was a true cry of the heart and the finale, “The Song of Purple Summer,” was beautifully performed by the full cast with a powerful message of hope.

Giancarlo Scalia’s live 7 members orchestra provides an exceptional musical backdrop, skillfully blending pop-rock with classical elements to create a soundscape that bridges the 19th-century setting with contemporary resonances.
Why you should go : Outstanding vocal performances, superb orchestra, innovative staging, effective lighting, dynamic choreography, and vibrant energy.

In summary, “Spring Awakening” is a must see musical . Contact Theatre has consistently delivered high-quality productions featuring outstanding talent, and this show is no exception. It spotlights young, energetic performers, intelligent writing, and complex, melodious songs.

Learn more and get your tickets HERE

Monument National (1182 Boul. St-Laurent, Montréal)
Presented in English from the 8th to the 15th of June 2024.
Tickets  https://www.contacttheatre.ca/springawakening24


*** Possible trigger warnings : The musical addresses mature content including partial nudity, sex, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, rape, suicide, parental abuse, physical violence, abortion, teenage pregnancy, death, masturbation, religion, institutional violence, weaponry, and strong language.