John Szablewski Previews

First Look: ‘Spring Awakening’ by MusicalFare Theatre at Shea’s 710 Theatre

The cast of MusicalFare’s ‘Spring Awakening.’ Photo by Chris Cavanagh.

When it comes to choosing programing, theater companies often have questions to ask when choosing the right show. Will this show work for the audience? Will we be able to sell tickets to something different? Will the material offend our audience? Can we successfully pull this off? There are many things to think about. Then, a show comes around like “Spring Awakening,” the 2007 Tony Award winning show for Best Musical. While this show was a Broadway phenomenon, it’s content and story are a little difficult for most theatre companies to perform.

“I had been thinking about this show for a while,” says Randy Kramer, Artistic Director of MusicalFare Theatre, who is also directing the production being presented at Shea’s 710 Theatre, “and it just wasn’t a good fit for our intimate space at MusicalFare. There is a large cast, and many musicians, and the show is written in a style that was just a little too much for our theatre.”

For those who might not be aware, “Spring Awakening” is a rock musical that took Broadway by storm during the 2007 season, with music written by Duncan Shiek and book by Steven Sater. The show tells a story of a group of young adults as they experience a life where they are constantly told what they should be doing and how they should be feeling. While adults try to run their lives, they experience their own desires and want to break away from the mold of what is expected of them. While the topics in the show may be dense at times, Kramer says that the situations depicted in the story are real.

“I think this show really will hit home with audiences, especially with what is happening right now with the student mobilization, after the terrible occurrence that happened last week in Florida,” says Kramer, “‘Spring Awakening’ tells a story of young people being told how to feel, and what to do, and they are standing up and rebelling. There is a similar reaction happening right now in the news.”

While “Spring Awakening” was a box office hit in New York, and went on two national tours, the show never played the main stage at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre. “It was thought to be a little too risqué for our audiences,” says Kramer, “but now it is being given the chance to play at Shea’s 710 Theatre, and to me that shows that there has been progress in the community, to let a show like “Spring Awakening” be seen by Buffalo audiences.”

This is the fifth show that MusicalFare has produced at Shea’s 710 Theatre. “Shea’s President, Michael Murphy, wants to continue bringing interesting programming to the 710 Theatre space, and we are lucky to be performing in a space that is huge, has great history in the community, and that we can expand the scope of this show for the Buffalo audience.

Kramer says the this show will definitely bring out emotions, but that the audience should be positively impacted by the story, and the characters. “I hope that this show gets the audience to talk about issues. Not just the issues that the show brings up, but other issues that are important.

“Spring Awakening” runs March 8 – 18, 2018, is produced by MusicalFare Theatre, and is presented at Shea’s 710 Theatre. For more information, click here.

Promotional Consideration Paid For By The Theatre Alliance Of Buffalo.