The Season to Play
UNC Asheville students take center stage in Spring Awakening
College students typically have a lot to learn, but after two semesters at UNC Asheville, freshman drama major Nathan Singer from Harrisburg, N.C., also has a lot to teach, now that he’s performed in a lead role as Moritz Stiefel in Spring Awakening.
“I learned stage combat, so I know how to get flipped on stage now,” said Singer. That ability manifests in the current performance through a series of staged hits and slaps, and he’ll take the experience back to the classroom both for the musical theatre course credit he’s earned and as an outcome of his teacher licensure.
“If I’m going to be a teacher, I might as well get as much experience as I can. With Spring Awakening, I’ve experienced a whole new character that I’ve never performed before, but he’s someone who is much closer in character to who I am as a person.”
Setting the Scene
As staged on Broadway, the Tony-Award winning musical is starkly set in the repressive Germany of 120 years ago, but the teens bring their emotions and yearnings – timeless and modern – to life through alternative rock music and lyrics. Because of its sexual themes and language, this musical is recommended for mature audiences.
“Although the scenes in the musical depict the time period of the original play, the characters in Spring Awakening are no different than the multitude of teens and adults struggling with these themes throughout the ages,” said director Laura Bond, UNC Asheville chair and professor of drama. “The contemporary songs, written by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, help bridge the story from past to present, allowing audiences to hear words and music common to their experience, and in turn relate to the lives of these young characters.”
The cast includes UNC Asheville students, some of whom also are members of the Asheville Ballet Company, and the performance is accompanied by a live band, under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music Melodie Galloway.
Singing to the End
The heart of Spring Awakening is its electrifying and heart-wrenching songs, which in the Broadway production helped launch Lea Michelle, now famous for her role on TV's Glee, to stardom.
The students in the UNC Asheville production remain a little more grounded for now.
“When I graduate, I can say that I accomplished so many goals, including experience on the stage,” said Singer. “Whatever I notice in myself when it comes to flaws in my performance or accomplishments, I can pass that on to my students as the standard that I learned at UNC Asheville and set for myself.”
Catch Singer in character through April 13, 2013. Visit the TheatreUNCA website for tickets and more information.
The Asheville Citizen-Times calls the show “a musical revelation.” Click here for the full the review.