The following release was written by student intern Caitlyn Johnson, Moundsville, W.Va., an English and public relations major.
West Liberty University’s Hilltop Players will end the semester with the musical adaptation of the infamous 1891 play by Frank Wedekind, “Spring Awakening.” Featuring an electrifying score by Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Steven Sater, all performance take place at Kelly Theatre.
“Sater creates a play where two worlds collide. The ‘real’ world of the German children in the 1890s, and the inner ‘fantasy’ world where they are allowed to express themselves through rock ‘n’ roll music. This is symbolic of the main theme; kids on the brink of adulthood. The time between being a little boy and a man,” said WLU’s Director of Theater Michael Aulick, who also is directing the play.
The musical swept the 2007 Tony Awards® winning eight out of its eleven nominations, including Best Musical, Best Director (Michael Mayer), Best Book (Steven Sater), Best Choreography (Bill T. Jones), Best Orchestrations (Duncan Sheik), Best Lighting Design (Kevin Adams), Best Featured Actor (John Gallagher Jr.).
Focusing on pubescent German schoolchildren, the play shows the dramatic struggle with children’s burgeoning changes as they approach adulthood. This exploration of adolescent sexuality and the effects of raging hormones on the lives of teenagers are exacerbated by a society filled with adults who fail to discuss the meaning behind the changes occurring with their bodies.
Mack Kale plays Melchior Gabor, and is a headstrong young man who questions and challenges the ‘parentocracy’ in his life. He is the only young character that is able to shed light on the subject of puberty. Chad Arthur plays Moritz Steifel, the most influential and naive of Melchior’s friends at school. Moritz is distraught because of his naivety, and Melchior attempts to help him understand his body. Cassandra Hackbart portrays Wendla Bergrman, Melchior’s love interest and another naive character within the play.
Wendla and Melchior are overcome by a passion that they do not even understand and it leads to potential tragic complications. The creative team includes, Dr. Linda Cowan as musical director, Dr. Melinda Kreisberg as the choreographer and Meta Lasch as the technical director and design coordinator. Rich Deenis is assistant technical director.
Because the play contains scenes that deal with sexuality, mature themes and strong language, it is not suitable for all audiences.
Curtain is at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, Nov. 20, 21 and 23 and at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24. (There is no performance on Nov. 22 due to the Wheeling Christmas Parade.)
“Spring Awakening” contains mature themes, sexual situations and strong language and may be inappropriate for children. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at the WLU Ticket Office (limited hours) or online at brownpapertickets.com. Reservations may be made by calling, 304-336-8277.
Tickets prices range between $5 (WLU students) and $12.50 (general admission).
Additional members of the cast:
- Maura R. Reiff, Martha
- Zoe Poindexter, Thea
- Anna Gross, Anna
- Elizabeth Richter, Ilse
- Maggie P. Dillon, Ensemble Girl
- Kacie Craig, Ensemble Girl
- Michael Wylie, Hanschen
- Gregory Gust, Ernst
- Jeremiah Propst, Georg
- Brady Dunn, Otto
- Michael Blatzer, Ensemble Boy
- Alex Franke, Ensemble Boy
- Melinda Kreisberg, Adult Women
- Jaccob Trifonoff, Adult Men
- Nathan Dunn, Lighting Designer
- Michael Blatzer, Costumer
- Amanda Mandirola, Stage Manager