Fabulous Cast and Music in “Spring Awakening” at NTC

Marin Musical Theatre Company At NTC

“Cult following” comes to mind for Spring Awakening – Marin Musical Theatre Company – the latest marvelous production at Novato Theater Company.

This is a production not to be missed!

Whether it’s the genius of the script, by Frank Wedekind, the genius of the lyrics, by Steven Sater, or the musical genius of Duncan Sheik – Director Jenny Boynton shows some genius of her own – along with Music Director Jake Gale; Choreographer Katie Wickes; Fight Choreographer Zoe Swenson-Graham; Fight Captain Nelson Brown; Sound Mixer Simon Eves with Sound Design by Sound Logic, Inc.; as well as Scenic Designer Pav Wilkinson; Costume Designer Jenn O’Neill; Properties Designers Kathy Kingman and Jere Torkelsen (who is also the masterful Stage Manager with Jennifer Daine); and the excellent (spot on) lighting by Lighting Designer Marilyn Izdebski.

While we could not see the band, make no mistake, their musicianship, the vocal arrangements (by AnnMarie Milazzo), orchestrations of Duncan Sheik and string orchestrations (by Simon Hale) made everyone in the cast look and sound musically perfect! Under the baton and piano expertise of Music Director, Jake Gale, the Band was absolutely stellar, with guitar (by Ken Adams); percussion (by Dean Cook); cello (by Susan Groff); bass (by Ana Hansen); and violin (by Felicia McFall).

The hard work of this great cast pays off “big time” – with all the support they give to each other, enabling them to freely share their immense talents and friendship bonds.  There’s not one “weak link” in this “coming-of-age” musical drama. Bravo!! Bravo!!

Dual roles were superbly performed by Kristine Ann Lowry (teacher and Momma to Melchior).  One of her lines as the borderline too-close-teacher to the boys, in particular, was also telling about her own character and her thoughts about the actions of the students, “…the creepy sensuality of these liberal times.”

Multiple roles were superbly performed by Nelson Brown (as the rigid task-master-teacher, abortion doctor, and Father to Melchior).

Tyler Gable was outstanding and powerful in his role as Moritz, the first most-demanding professional and soulful performance.  One has to wonder whether he is a natural “method actor.” His meltdown and psychotic break were the most heartbreaking to imagine – let alone witness, as in the “manic” scene with Ilse (nicely performed by Alanna Weatherby).

Kudos to Emily Dwyer for the second of the three most demanding professional and soulful performances, as Wendla.

Izaak Heath, as Hanschen, was up front and center stage in the third of the three most demanding professional and soulful performances. – Such courage, and we could say, “straight-up” professional acting!

Ryan Hook was undeniably charismatic and charming, with good vocals, and so persuasive as Melchior.

Otto (performed well by Nick Reulbach with good vocals); Georg (Gabriel Thomas gave this character depth); and Ernst was innocently and sincerely performed by Michael Kessell.  Jenny Boynton (Martha), Fiorella Garcia (Thea), and Anna Vorperian (Anna) each gave convincing and indispensable performances.

Daniela Myers is a lovely and talented dancer.  Jennifer Daine is a wonderful dramatic dancer – whose makeup also defined part of the “costuming” for her dramatic character performance.

The Ensemble work was both excellent and beautiful with Stephanie Blazek, Bethany Cox, Katerina Flores, Haley Hodges, Emma Lima, and Aimee Ouellette.

By Elle Alexa Simon on behalf of and with
Flora Lynn Isaacson, Critic, San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle

Spring Awakening
began its run at NTC on March 1st
and is slated to close March 16th.

Don’t miss this superb production at the home of Novato Theater Company, 5420 Nave Drive, Novato. Reserve seats by telephone at 415/883-4498 for 7:30 pm performances on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as for 2:00pm Matinee performances on Saturdays, March 2, 9, and 16 and Sundays, March 3 and 10.