Alia Carangelo – Special to the Southern News
The spring semester not only brings a new workload and busy class schedules but also issues of homosexuality, abortion, rape, child abuse and suicide–in the school play, that is.
The Southern Connecticut State University theater department is doing their own rendition of the risqué 18 century German play “Spring Awakening.”
While most students are socializing in the student center or strolling around campus, the cast of the musical said that they are using six weeks to prepare for a show that they hope draws a large, youthful crowd. Larry Nye, director and choreographer, was the first to get rights to perform “Spring Awakening” in Connecticut.
Nye chooses each play that the university puts on: plays that are family oriented, plays that deal with romance, plays that deal with fame and now a play that touches upon controversial youth.
“Spring Awakening” is a musical that exploits the common complications of troubled teenagers such as rape, abortion and rebellion.
After being banned in Germany for 70 years after it came out for its explicit content, the play was first performed in the U.S. in New York City in 1917 and several times after that.
Sophomore Brandon Mauro, who plays Hanschen, said the genre of music is modern alternative rock, which is part of the reason it will draw a younger crowd.
“I think ‘Spring Awakening’ is appealing to the audience we’re trying to reach [the students of Southern and kids our age] because of the content,” he said.
Larry Nye said he has been involved with theater his whole life and has been at Southern for eight years now.
He has choreographed everything from cheerleading routines and pageants to a different genres of plays and musicals.
Southern has touched on many of these genres, as it shifts from family-friendly plays such as “Bye Bye Birdie” to the explicit “Spring Awakening.” The cast is expecting a good turnout because of the relatable content; the play includes things that teens and young adults face every day. This isn’t expected to be a play that parents take their children to, Nye said.
“It’s something for the youth. I’m looking to bring in the youth,” he answered when asked what type of crowd would fill the audience.
The modern, popular music and racy content in the musical strikes interest in a wide, youth demographic because they’re going through it or know someone who is.
Melchior and Wendla are two characters in the play that engage in sexual activity. Melchior, performed by Paul Falzone, will have his pants down during the scene and exposing his backside. Wendla, played by Sarah Nicastro, will be exposing her breast. Both performers will recreate the infamous sex scene in a hayloft between Wendla and Melchior.
“Anyone that comes will be able to find a character to connect with and give them a sense of sexual awareness,” said Georgia Russell, a sophomore at Southern who has been involved with theater since she was seven years old.
Nye and the cast said that the theater department at Southern is an outlet for those who may not necessarily want to pursue theater as a major but who still have a strong passion for performance. The show is taking place at the Lyman Center on March 2, 3, 8, 9, and 10 at 8 p.m. and also at 2 p.m. on March 4, 10, and 11.