Arts & Entertainment

Community theatre gets edgy

By: Paula Bauman, Editor-in-Chief

Summer musical a first for Albuquerque

Albuquerque Little Theater is preparing for the premiere of “Spring Awakening,” a controver­sial musical that will appeal to a dif­ferent demographic, said Executive Director Henry Avery.

The Little Theater, best known for its “Family Theatre Series,” will feature “Spring Awakening” from July 19 – 29 because the theater seeks to serve the entire community while being respectful of audiences’ diverse tastes and feelings, said Avery.

“Not every show is for everybody,” said Avery.

Director and Stage Manager Ryan Jason Cook said he hopes the musical will elevate community the­atre as a whole by pushing the com­munity theater mentality into the pro­fessional realm.

He expects the show to evoke mixed emotions from audiences, said Cook.

“Some will feel passionately in love and strive for those in-your-face emotions and sexuality while others will not even make it through Act 1,” said Cook.

Avery said it has been important to be honest with theater patrons about the mature content of the R-rated coming of age musical and that variety is important.

While the show does contain strong language and sexual situa­tions, Cook is taking things in a more artistic direction to convey certain scenes, he said.

Although “Spring Awakening” was originally written in the 19th cen­tury, the issues it addresses are still very relevant, said Cook.

The musical is an adaptation of the play by the same name, written by German playwright Fred Wedekind. It follows Wendla Bergmann as she enters adolescence. Wendla has many questions in an era where children are not encouraged to ask questions. Throughout the musical, Wendla and her friends confront sexuality, puberty, rape, and what it means to come of age.

“Human sexuality has not changed. It’s just more in-your-face now. At that time, people had very repressed feelings. This show is about dealing with those feelings,” said Cook.

Dual-enrollment student, ensemble member and Wendla Bergmann understudy Michaela Bateman likes that the Little Theater’s version of the musical not only brings an absorbing story of life, death, identity and adolescence to audiences, but that also addresses these issues in a way that the audi­ence can relate and connect to the characters, she said.

“I find it easy to identify emotionally with the characters in “Spring Awakening,” but it’s sad to think of friends who faced some of the same issues, which just makes me realize how impor­tant this show is,” said Bateman.

The show will focus more on content than shock value because that is not necessary to make it pow­erful, said Avery.

“There are multiple dimensions. It is a spectacle, but there are also a lot of straight scenes that drive things and flesh out the story line,” said Cook.

Bateman said being a part of the rehearsal process has taught her so much about acting, singing and pro­fessionalism in general.

“I know that I will leave the show with lessons learned, lasting friend­ships and great memories of being involved in an extraordinary show,” said Bateman.

“Spring Awakening” will also be the first performance to christen Albuquerque Little Theater’s new stage, said Avery

The theater received a $25,000 grant from PNM for the renova­tions and the remainder of the cost was donated by patrons, said Avery.

The theater board members are deeply thankful for these gen­erous contributions and wishes to express their gratitude, said Avery.

The construction has allowed the cast of “Spring Awakening” to have more time to rehearse and better prepare for the show, said Avery.

The theater will hold an open dedication on July 29 that will include tours, information, refreshments and entertain­ment from the cast of “Spring Awakening” and past productions.

Albuquerque Little Theatre Presents:

“Spring Awakening”

Rated R

Show Times:

  • July 19-29
  • Thursday-Saturday: 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: 6:00 p.m.

Tickets

  • Adults: $24
  • Seniors 62 and up: $21
  • Students 13 and up: $18

Tickets can be purchased at the Albuquerque Little Theatre Box Office Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or online at albuquerquelittletheatre.org

Albuquerque Little Theatre 2012/2013 Season

“Main Stage Series”

  • “9 To 5: The Musical”– October 19-November 11, 2012
  • “It’s a Wonderful Life” – November 20-December 24, 2012
  • “LA Aux Folles” – March 1-24, 2013
  • “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” – April 12-18, 20123
  • “The Producers” – May 24-June 16, 2013

“Family Theatre Series”

  • “The Hobbit” – September 14-20, 2012
  • “Little Women” – January 18-February 3, 2013

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

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