Took in a musical tonight. Well, we stayed till intermission.
A good friend had invited us to see “Spring Awakening, A New Musical,” staged by the California Youth Conservatory Theatre at the (Lawrence) Welk Theatre, near Escondido.
We’ve been to the Welk many times before. Almost always enjoyed ourselves.
My good friend has a daughter, a high school junior, in the musical. While I didn’t feel like going to a musical or play I didn’t want to let my good friend down and I wanted to support his daughter’s efforts.
He, Evelyn, and I, all three got quite an education.
The musical, billed as an 8-time Tony Award winning musical, left me cold. Almost shivering, in fact.
We were prepared to accept and understand that there was adult language and an adult theme. I have heard adult language . . . on rare occasions, I may have even used it myself. I have also read books, and seen movies . . . with adult themes. Somehow, I survived. They did post a disclaimer:
ADVISORY: SPRING AWAKENING contains mature themes, sexual situations and strong language. This production is in no way affiliated with or produced by the Welk Theatre and Welk assumes no responsibility for content.
Well, wait a minute. How can Welk assume no responsibility for content? The Welk organization has built an outstanding reputation for presenting family fare, music and plays you would not be ashamed or embarrassed to take your family members to see.
Did anyone from the Welk Organization read the book or the score? If so, I’m surprised they agreed to rent the theatre to the Youth Conservancy. I would think, in order to not tarnish the Welk reputation, they would have repudiated this musical and declined to rent.
In my judgment, and I’m far from being a prude, the musical was totally inappropriate for the venue of The Welk Theatre.
Several of the scenes give pause to a theatre patron:
a. One scene where one of the male actor simulates masturbation. (At least I THINK he was simulating)!
b. Another scene where the male and female lead simulate copulation on the stage (At least I THINK it was simulated)!
The theme of the musical has to do with the “timeless story of teenage self-discovery and budding sexuality as seen through the eyes of three teenagers.”
Those elite theatre-going folks back east in New York City . . . on Broadway, seem to think this is the cat’s pajamas. Rave reviews.
This little ol’ farm boy from Nebraska will not give a rave review. Those who know me know I am anything but a prude. The musical might be okay in a proper venue. An avant-garde’ theatre, for example. But at the (Lawrence) Welk Theatre? Nope. Totally inappropriate.
I would not take a family member of mine to see “Spring Awakening,” not even at another venue. Indeed, by intermission Evelyn and I had seen and heard enough. We took leave.
My friend who had invited us, met us as we headed toward the lobby at intermission. He was flabbergasted. “I had no idea this was the theme or dialogue of the show. The only issue I had with my daughter is she was rehearsing for the last three months and I thought that was too much, taking away from her other school work and activities. I never really knew what the musical was about. Now I have to figure out how to address this situation with her.” He was clearly uncomfortable.
While I told him we did not care for the musical, it wasn’t ‘our cup of tea,’ we also told him we thought his daughter did an excellent job of singing and dancing, which she did.
Being sophisticated patrons of the arts and used to fine dining . . . we went to IHOP for a late night dinner of Belgian Waffles with two eggs, over medium well, and blueberry syrup. Evelyn had some hash-brown potatoes with scrambled eggs on top.
I believe these food items are what sophisticated theatre patrons order routinely.
So much for my foray into the world of theatre arts. Broadway can keep this one. Not for me, thank you very much.