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Spring Awakening: Let's Talk About Sex
Based on one of the most banned plays in history for supposedly being "pornographic," the Spring cast tells it's about more than just sex.

by Published on: Sep 23, 2009 - 9:34am

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Back row, L-R: Yanah Laurel as Thea, JC Santos as Hanschen, Miguel Mendoza as Georg, Joaquin Valdes
as Melchior, Nicco Manalo as Moritz, Bea Garcia as Ilse. Front row, L-R: Inno Martin as Otto, Ava Santos
as Anna, Kelly Lati as Wendla, Sitti Navarro as Martha, Nar Cabico as Ernst

It's not about the sex. Not completely.

The cast of Atlantis Productions' staging of Grammy- and Tony-award winning musical Spring Awakening are quick to come to the defense of the rock musical that tackles teenage angst, rebellion and sexual discovery in late 19th century Germany, describing it as more eye-opening than shocking.

Spring is about more than "human sexuality," says director Chari Arespacochaga. It's about the "journey of growing up and finding yourself in whatever time you're living," she adds, and that sexuality is just a part of the trials, the discovery, the challenges of growing up.

Singer Sitti Navarro, who is credited with popularizing bossa nova in the Philippines, sheds her signature singing style to play Marta, a girl sexually abused by her father. Navarro says the play runs the whole "gamut of feelings" that comes with being a teenager: the thrill of first crushes, the confusion and indecision about what to do.

The musical is based on the 1891 play by German dramatist Frank Wedekind. The original play is one of the most banned plays in history and was closed by censors after its opening performances in Berlin (1906) and New York (1912) for supposedly being "pornographic."

With music and lyrics penned by Steven Sater and "Barely Breathing" singer/songwriter Duncan Sheik, the musical resonates among the MTV generation with its rock 'n' roll edge. MTV's John Norris gave his nod to the production in 2007, comparing it to Jonathon Larsons' bohemian-rock Rent. That same year, Spring Awakening walked away with eight Tony awards, including one for Best New Musical.

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