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Stage Left’s sold out Spring Awakening covers controversial topics

Arts & Entertainment Editor

Published: Monday, January 14, 2013

Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013 22:01


Kim Parent | The Miami Student

Christine Grady and Robert Stimmel share an intimate moment at Monday night’s Spring Awakening rehearsal.


Kim Parent | The Miami Student

The crew has transformed the Oxford Community Arts Center’s stage into a “3/4 thrust stage”, so the actors will be surrounded by audience members on three sides.

Stage Left opens its latest production this Thursday. The cast of the highly anticipated Spring Awakening has been rehearsing since the beginning of the academic year for a one-weekend run of five shows.

This rock musical by Duncan Sheik is an adaptation of a German play from the late 1800’s. The Broadway production premiered in 2006 and won eight Tony Awards that year. The original cast included several soon-to-be big names, including star of the musical television show Glee, Lea Michele.

“The show is about a group of children in Germany in the late 1800’s who live in a society that represses information, mainly about sex and reproduction” senior Jarod Garel, who plays Moritz in the show, said. “They have to deal with these consequences of being uninformed and go about it in very different way.”

Spring Awakening has received criticism for its portrayal controversial topics, including sex and pregnancy, homosexuality and suicide, all involving kids. Despite all this, it has a very strong fan following, and Miami University students were excited for a chance to see it done on their campus.

Anticipation for this production was so great that tickets for all the scheduled shows were taken before classes resumed, leading to the addition of a Sunday matinee show.

Unusual for most Stage Left productions, the group decided to wait until after winter break to premiere. Not only did this mean it would have four weeks without rehearsing, but it also would have less than a week upon returning to school before opening night.

“Even though we were away from the show for over a month, we still were thinking about it,” Garel said. “The directors gave us all assignments to keep us focused.”

Another first for the organization is their venue choice. Instead of Stage Left’s usual use of Leonard Theater in Peabody, Spring Awakening is being put on at the Oxford Community Arts Center.

“(OCAC) has a lot of benefits as a venue,” senior Tamaliyapo Mphande, technical director for the show, said. “It’s smaller and more intimate, yet allowed us to build a 3/4 thrust stage, meaning it goes out into the audience on three sides. These elements combined make the audience feel more a part of the show, rather than just observers.”

Spring Awakening runs 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. Sunday. All shows are at the Oxford Community Arts Center located at 10 South College Avenue. Although tickets are sold out, those who want a chance to see it can show up early and wait in line, as empty seats will be given out right before curtain.

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