On the bank of the Potomac River, the gem of the Washington, D.C., performing arts scene is home to the National Symphony Orchestra, the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, and the Washington National Opera. The best out-of-town acts perform at one of three performance spaces—the Concert Hall, the Opera House, or the Eisenhower Theater. An eclectic range of performances is staged at the center's smaller venues, including the Terrace Theater, showcasing chamber groups and experimental works; the Theater Lab, home to cabaret-style performances; the KC Jazz Club; and a 320-seat family theater. But that's not all. On the Millennium Stage in the center's Grand Foyer, you can catch free performances almost any day at 6 pm.
On performance days, a free shuttle bus runs between the Center and the Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro stop.
Jul 6, 2009
This a review of the national tour of Spring Awakening that will be at the Kennedy Center July 7-August 2. As I was waiting in the lobby before the show, I was extremely excited. I had acquired a seat onstage, a unique trait of the musical Spring Awakening. I had already seen the show twice on Broadway, and loved it, but I was anxious to see the national touring cast. I had also never sat onstage before, so that only added to my excitement.
Now seems like as good a time as any to explain the show. Spring Awakening is a musical based on Frank Wedekind's 1890s German expressionist play about the lives of a group of rural teenagers as they enter a period of self-discovery and deal with the issues that plague their age group. The play was banned for a long time, and as such it is not extremely well-known. In the early 2000s, Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater came together to make the play into a musical. They kept most of the original plot and dialogue (though they did add and modify some plot elements) and inserted a contemporary rock score. Add in unique staging and choreography and you have a refreshing new musical that effortlessly juxtaposes old with new in a way that is relevant to every teenager. But back to this cast. I was not disappointed at all. It seems to be a tenet of theater that everyone prefers the first cast they saw of any show, and that did hold true for me. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by Steffi D's performance as Ilse and some of the boys, like Ben Moss (Ernst), Matt Shingledecker (Georg), and Anthony Lee Medina (Otto). In addition, I was much more aware of the ensemble members because of my position on stage, and I must say that they really add to the show. They all are very talented, and I even got to see one of them, Lucas A. Wells, go on for Hanschen in one performance (his acting was superb). The rest of the cast was also outstanding, but I still preferred the cast I saw originally. The portrayal I liked the least was Blake Bashoff's Moritz. He was a good actor, but I am personally not a fan of his voice. I also have a very high opinion in my head of my first Moritz, Gerard Canonico. There will be a few changes to the show that will be made in DC, and I am very excited to see them. Jake Epstein from Degrassi will officially be playing the lead role of Melchior starting at the Kennedy Center. Also, apparently, they are adding a countermelody to the song "Whispering" (Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater wrote it and it was used in the London production). I'm not sure how I feel about this yet, but I am eager to see how it's done.