The Dark I Know Well...

To quote one of my most beloved musicals, "I have always been a woman who arranges things." I feel like I've been obsessively scheduling myself this spring, but with a city full of possibilities and a indulgent partner to explore them with, it's hard to turn down all the opportunities to go out and experience what the city has to offer. Tonight, for instance, I tackled another one of the items that I'd long ago penciled into my 2011 to-do list -- seeing Spring Awakening for a second time when it came through town.

Some of the items on my list are more negotiable than others; I wouldn't be crushed if I didn't get around to them (though, so far, I haven't missed a single event on my checklist, which is organized by month), but Spring Awakening fell into the "must do" category. Ever since I saw it with Natasha two years ago, it's become one of my favorite musicals. I listen to the soundtrack all the time on my iPod, and it introduced me to Lea Michele, and was thereby my gateway into Gleekdom. There was no way I was going to miss an opportunity to see it in person again; in fact, the show has sort of become my new Les Miserables.

From the very beginning of the year, I stalked the Broadway in Chicago website waiting to see when tickets would go on sale, and the moment they did, I clicked over to Ticketmaster to get the best, full-price seats I could find. Last time, I had miserable balcony seats and could barely see a thing (the fact that I loved the show anyway was a testament to its greatness), so this time I wanted to be assured of an ideal vantage point. I ended up snagging a pair of seats in the first row of the dress circle, which was ideal, because it meant no one was sitting in front of us. Although I find myself in love with a very tall man, I do not love sitting behind other tall people at the theater...

In the week leading up to the show, I was practically bubbling over with excitement to share one of my favorite things with my favorite guy, and thankfully, the production did not disappoint. If anything, the singers featured this time were better than those I saw the first time around, particularly Elizabeth Judd, who was cast as Wendla, the female lead. She was no Lea Michele by any stretch of the imagination, but she had the vocal chops for the role, unlike the last portrayal I saw. The actor portraying Melchoir, the male principle, did not fair as well -- he often had to employ a falsetto for the higher notes in his songs. He was still way ahead of the former Disney star I saw last time -- singing was not his strong suit.

The only disappointment in tonight's production was the sound. I don't think it was a factor of the acoustics in the Oriental Theater; it was very clearly a problem with the microphone system. There was a lot of static, and the distortion from the sound system made it difficult to understand the actors at times, which wasn't a problem for me, since I have most of the musical memorized anyway, but it made things a bit more confusing for Justin. I think this could have been a factor of the show only being in town for a couple performances and the crew not having the time to work out all the bugs with the system.

Even so, Spring Awakening was just as wonderful the second time around, and I think Justin enjoyed it as well. It's important to me to share the things that I love with the man I love, and I was thankful to have the opportunity to do that this evening. Who knows when I'll have a chance to see the show again, but until then, I have the original Broadway cast on my iPod, and this Youtube video (complete with Lea Michele!) to satisfy my cravings for 19th century adolescent angst:

It's worth noting that this weird, spastic dancing won the show a Tony for Best Choreography... clearly, dance is a language I don't speak.

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