Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

Last night we saw the new production of Spring Awakening playing downtown at the Curran.  What a knock-out!

I'd known a little about the show - the basics about its 1890s source material, its progressive themes of sexuality, rebellion and teenage angst, and its rock 'n roll score - but I had no idea it'd be so much fun to watch.  The music's stellar (alternately poignant and rocking), the set is smart and efficient, and the lighting is the real star.  

Bill T. Jones does some great work with the choreography, too.  The characters' frustration and raw energy leap off the stage.  The tour just opened last week here in SF, and there was a good crowd last night, warm and responsive, especially for a Tuesday night, although I did notice a few elderly audience members leaving early, especially at the more risque moments.  It's definitely a show that fearlessly thrusts usually-taboo topics literally right into center stage: you'll find your share of incest, masturbation, homoeroticism, and the bare bum or two if you watch long enough.

But what a thoughtful, raw, buzzing, relevant piece.  The soppy final number left me a little flat, but the thematic content, the great music and choreography, and the innate wisdom about the dangers of repression and silence made up for the lackluster finale.

I'll be interested to see how this plays in, say, Kalamazoo.  I can imagine the crowds in SF or Manhattan might be much more open to the content than some of the Heartland types - the same kinds who left the theater half-empty at intermission when I saw the national tour of Rent play in Lincoln some seven or eight years ago. 



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