Critical Reaction

Critical Reaction

"Beautiful, messy, exhilarating, awkward, vital.... [Duncan Sheik] manages to deliver lovely, graceful pop melodies that work in a theatrical context that is, to propel a story and elucidate its characters."
– USA Today

"This brave new musical, haunting and electrifying by turns, restores the mystery, the thrill and quite a bit of the terror to that shattering transformation that stirs in all our souls sometime around the age of 13, well before most of us have the intellectual apparatus in place to analyze its impact. ...Mr. Sater, who wrote the book and lyrics, remains faithful to the play's awareness that the discovery of sex can carry in its heady wake both salvation and destruction, particularly when it is coupled with ignorance. Mr. Sheik's music, spare in its simple orchestrations, lush in the lapping reach of its seductive choruses, embodies the shadowy air of longing that infuses the show, the excitement shading into fear, the joy that comes with a chaser of despair."
– The New York Times

"Captures the dangerous anxiety of youth standing on the precipice of adulthood with transfixing honesty. ...Sater's book and lyrics seem to capture from within the uniquely teenage feeling that every emotion is the most tempestuous, frightening, passionate or exciting one ever experienced. Factor in Sheik's melodic alt-rock score, which shifts easefully between dreamy and driving modes... and you have a show that bristles with rawness, vitality and urgency. ...What makes the musical so distinctive is its audacious balancing act between period drama and contemporary edge."
– Variety

"Great news for theatergoers who have craved a new musical with attitude, youthful exuberance and a fresh, gutsy sound: Spring Awakening... is what they've been seeking."
– New York Daily News

"What [Sheik and Sater] have done here is upend traditional musical theater. They separate story from song, rigidly dividing the saga of these troubled teens as they confront their budding sexuality in a world that wants to keep it hidden. Propriety and appearances are what count, after all."
– The Associated Press