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Sorrow At The Heart: Three Brothers Theatre’s “Spring Awakening”

Gwen was not a fan of Spring Awakening –– and she readily admitted that it was her fault, not the show. She’d burned out on the musical, ever since its 2006 Broadway production caught fire among the teen theatre set, with endless repetitions of its inanely pop-punk score dredged up at more cabarets than she could count. The lyrics were poetic enough on their surface that no one Gwen knew had needed to dig any deeper into them to find meaning. An angsty screed against uncaring parents, for a generation slowly acclimating to an uncaring world. A string of regional productions after performance rights were released in 2011, while the tide of interest was still high, had afforded her numerous opportunities to see a gaggle of Wendlas and Melchiors partake in enough hayloft intimacy to make the cast of Equus blush.

Gwen was, to put it mildly, over it.

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The World On Fire: Haven Theatre’s “The Total Bent”

Compared to the raucous live performances throughout the evening, Dania couldn’t help but feel the slightest tinge of letdown when the pre-recorded 1960s hits came through the speakers as the house lights rose. She longed for a version of the songs with the same raw power as the songs in The Total Bent had possessed –– but admitted to herself that perhaps that was impossible to capture on record.

“What a gutpunch,” Dania said, glancing up to the illuminated cross at centerstage. Around the stage, musicians were just packing up their instruments, scattered around the stage. Only the two keyboard players –– Frederick Harris and Jermaine Hill –– were listed as members of the cast, but it has been difficult to divorce the remaining quartet of band members from the narrative.

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Smile, Darn Ya, Smile: The 5th Avenue Theatre’s “Annie”

This had been Dania’s suggestion.

As far back as she could remember, Gwen had always been the person scheduling performances and telling the others what shows they would go see. But during this jaunt to Seattle, Dania had looked up the local arts scene, and specifically requested a trip to see Annie at the 5th Avenue Theatre.

It was obvious why. Dania had grown up with Annie, one of the few musical soundtracks she had listen to as a child, since it was family-friendly. As Gwen had railed against the absences of any legitimate stakes in the plot, and naturally had choice words to say about the most recent film adaptation, Dania had held fast to her adoration for the tale of the plucky orphan and her sugar daddy (“God, the word ‘Daddy’ just isn’t the same nowadays, is it?” Dania had cooed just moments before the musical began).

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