Frühlings Erwachen am Broadway - mitten im Winter

Es ist ja nicht so, dass nur in Österreich und Deutschland Musicalsongs nicht im Radio gespielt werden. Den Kollegen in Amerika geht es nicht viel anders. Den letzten nennenswerten Radioeinsatz von Musicals gab es mit, mal überlegen, “Rent”, wenn man von Amerika ausgeht, und das ist ein paar Jährchen her.

Nun, dieser Tage mischt ein Musical den Broadway auf, das unlängst schon am Off-Broadway gezeigt hat, was es braucht, um für Furore zu sorgen. Der Stoff für dieses Musical kommt aus Europa. Frank Wedekinds “Frühlings Erwachen”, das den meisten Europäern wohl vor allem als Theaterstück (unter anderem am Wiener Akademietheater vor ein paar Jahren mit einem brillanten David Rott zu sehen) bekannt ist, wurde am Broadway zum Musical “Spring Awakening” - und bei diesem Erwachen geht die Post ab.
Duncan Sheik (Musik) und Steven Sater (Buch & Texte) haben eine racy Rockmusical auf die Bühne geknallt, das den Drive des Stücks aus dem Jahre 1891 in die Jetztzeit fährt. Nur wenige Musicals spielen in derselben Liga wie “Spring Awakening”, genauer gesagt “Rent” und “Hedwig & the Angry Inch”. Musicals, in denen die Charaktere durch Songs ihre Gefühle ausdrücken - in einer Art und Weise, die der Komplexität und der Verwirrtheit ihrer Gefühle entspricht. “Broadway Pop” könnte man als Label auch verwenden, als leichte Anlehnung an das Phänomen “Hair”, damals, als es ganz neue Trends setzte.
“Spring Awakening” hat einen wunderbaren Pop-Score, ist ein energetischer Mix aus aufregenden, lauten Songs und wunderbar leisen Momenten. Kein Wunder also, dass die Colleges in den USA, die schon immer darin gut waren, Trends zu erkennen, “Spring Awakening” auf heavy rotation in ihren Radioprogrammen gesetzt haben. Da hat natürlich der Ruf von Duncan Sheik, einem begnadeten Interpreten seiner eigenen Songs, das seine dazu beigetragen. Was noch hilft: Die Songs aus “Spring Awakening” sind “radiofreundlich”. Es sind Pop-/Rocktunes, um die zwei bis drei Minuten lang; jeder Song in sich vollkommen, erzählt eine Geschichte. Kein Wunder auch, dass bei den Aufnahmen zur Cast-CD nicht der übliche Weg gegangen wurde, was Cast-CDs betrifft. Es wurde also nicht für einen Tag ein Studio gebucht, um die Darsteller dann in einer Session die Songs interpretieren zu lassen. Die Aufnahmen fanden in diversen Sessions statt, die einzelnen Tracks wurden dann abgemischt, wie man das bei einem Popalbum machen würde.
Die Broadway-Kritiker sind sich einig. Gestern ging am Broadway die Premiere über die Bühne, die ersten Kritiken dokumentieren: “Spring Awakening” ist der Hit der Saison:

New York Times:
“Think of the Broadway musical, its past, present or future, and any number of phrases may spring to mind, depending on your affection for this embattled but persistent form of popular entertainment.
The great American art form. Karaoke nightmare. Bring the kids, leave the I.Q. at home. Another op’nin, another revival. Probably nobody thinks: pure sex.
That might just change. A straight shot of eroticism steamed open last night at the Eugene O’Neill Theater under the innocuous name of “Spring Awakening,” and Broadway, with its often puerile sophistication and its sterile romanticism, may never be the same.”

New York Sun:

Every now and then, critics get a chance for a do-over. Case in point: “Spring Awakening,” the rock-music reimagining of Franz Wedekind’s 1891 broadside against the sexual hypocrisies of provincial Germany. When it opened off-Broadway this summer, I could barely wait to get home and type the following:
“”Spring Awakening” is the most thrilling rock musical of the last decade.”
Six months later, as so often happens, passions have simmered. Opinions have deepened and clarified. So allow this cooler head to modify the above sentence. “Spring Awakening” is, in my measured opinion, the most thrilling rock musical ever.”

Associated Press:
“A sad, haunting lyric drifts through “Spring Awakening,” a remarkable rock musical that has transferred from off-Broadway to Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre with all its potent, gutsy theatricality intact.
“O, I’m gonna be wounded. O, I’m gonna be your wound,” sing the anguished young men and women in this tragic tale of spirit and sensuality denied. The world of provincial late 19th century Germany is the setting for Frank Wedekind’s classic drama.
Sater pretty much follows the Wedekind play, but when the story stops for a tune, the actors pull out microphones or set up a mike stand, and the O’Neill stage explodes in a kind of rock concert, circa 1890.
Despite the division, the show, directed with driving force by Michael Mayer, has astonishing unity, a clarity of purpose. The songs comment on the action, which Mayer pushes with blazing speed. Although production values have been enhanced, the setting, designed by Christine Jones, is still minimal. A small band sits on the nearly empty stage as do the actors when they are not performing. The performers mingle among several rows of theatergoers also seated on the sides of the playing area.
Sheik, a singer-songwriter best known for the 1996 hit “Barely Breathing,”
writes rhythmic, driving melodies that neatly capture the frenetic uncertainty of the characters. Yet there is a quiet, introspective quality to some of his more mournful songs. Sater’s intelligent lyrics display a sense of poetry without feeling precious.”

“For anyone weary of pedestrian screen-to-stage adaptations or cut-and-paste jukebox assemblies, the arrival on Broadway of a truly original new musical like “Spring Awakening” is exhilarating. Seven years after it was first workshopped, Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s artful reinterpretation of the
1891 German Expressionist drama has deepened considerably. The show’s long evolution and further fine-tuning since its hit run at Off Broadway’s Atlantic Theater early this summer have amplified its resonance, adding texture and poignancy. It captures the dangerous anxiety of youth standing on the precipice of adulthood with transfixing honesty. (…) This strange, beguiling show is by no means flawless, but with subtle, nurturing changes, the creative team and cast have fashioned an already seductive work into something even more lovely and lyrical.”

USA Today:
“Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s adaptation of German playwright Frank Wedekind’s 1891 drama tracing the sexual and moral oppression of teenagers - and its disastrous impact on budding thinkers and lovers - arrives on Broadway after an acclaimed run at the Atlantic Theater Company. More than one critic compared it to Rent, a reference that would seem logical given Spring’s focus on rebellious youth and Sheik’s background as a pop singer/songwriter.
But Spring is at once a less polished and more resonant work. Where Rent creator Jonathan Larson both embraced the bombast of rock-era theater and aspired to a more conventional sophistication, Sheik approaches the stage with the fresh eyes and open mind of an artist accustomed to an entirely different tradition. (…)
Spring Awakening offers a trip unlike any other you’re likely to experience this season.”

Bloomberg News:
“Shows can be innovative without being good or vice versa. But when “Spring Awakening,” a new musical, is both, it is grounds for cheering. It has been compared to “Rent,” but in my view, it is more original and, quite simply, better. This “Spring Awakening” may well be the first truly 21st-century musical on Broadway.”

New Jersey Star-Ledger:
“A gorgeous score. A passionate story. A charismatic production.
Everybody weary of jukebox shows, so-what revivals and tuners tepidly derived from movies definitely should grab a ticket for this compelling musical that premiered yesterday at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre after a hit off-Broadway stint.
Bold, brooding “Spring Awakening” may shock ultra-traditionalists, but it’s the most explosive new musical since “Rent.”"

Die Cast-CD zu “Spring Awakening” erscheint am 12. Dezember. Die Tracks:
1. Mamma Who Bore Me
2. Mamma Who Bore Me (Reprise)
3. All That’s Known
4. The B*tch of Living
5. My Junk
6. Touch Me
7. The Word of Your Body
8. The Dark I Know Well
9. And Then There Were None
10. The Mirror-Blue Night
11. I Believe
12. Don’t Do Sadness
13. Blue Wind
14. The Guilty Ones
15. Left Behind
16. Totally F*ucked
17. The Word of Your Body (Reprise)
18. Whispering
19. Those You’ve Known
20. The Song of Purple Summer


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