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Actors in Susan Hilferty's straitlaced costumes emerge from the small audience seated onstage, mimicking the emergence of the principal stories from the storm of child-adult frustration.A sweet-voiced Kyle Riabko is a charismatic Melchior, the conflicted, intellectually adventurous boy whose romance with Wendla provides some of the most deeply affecting dramatic and musical moments.Sater and Sheik's stroke of genius is to infuse the long-banned teen-sex play with the propulsive force of rock - not by setting the text to contemporary pop but by using songs to express the universality of adolescent emotional and intellectual chaos.Sater's book follows the play fairly faithfully, through the young intellectual Melchior's ill-fated romance with a knowledge-hungry Wendla and the painful angst of his suicidal best friend, Moritz.The febrile passions slip into forced sentiment at times, particularly in an awkwardly appended finale.But most of "Spring" bursts with an energy that makes Frank Wedekind's strange 1891 drama of sexual repression immediate and compelling.Jones' explosive choreography to the dynamic rhythms emanating from musical director Jared Stein's onstage band.Sexual urgency, frustration, confusion, rebellion, despair and rampaging hormones electrify the Curran Theatre in Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's "Spring Awakening," which opened its national tour Sunday in the Best of Broadway series.

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less Moritz, played by Blake Bashoff, left, and Melchoir, played by Kyle Riabko, right, attempting to make sense of their own sexual awakening, at the opening performance of "Spring Awakening," launch of the ... less An Adult Woman (here, Mother), played by Angela Reed, left, attempting to give sexual information to her daughter Wendla, played by Christy Altomare, right, at the opening performance of "Spring Awakening," ... Book and lyrics by Steven Sater, adapted from the play by Frank Wedekind. A young teen croons plaintively about the wonders of her blossoming body as she dresses for school.Still, it's easy to see why "Spring" has excited audiences since it opened at the Atlantic Theater Company in '06 and won eight Tony awards.Christine Jones' set evokes institutional repression by re-creating the dour brick walls of the Atlantic's former church-hall stage.So it does defy what is commercial and popular today.' (more...)Entertainment Weekly has just posted the upcoming cover for their Jan.11 'Winter TV Preview' issue, featuring the ladies of SMASH.That helps to ground the teens' tragedies in their repressive, 19th century German village milieu.

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