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Some musicals are more than just musicals. They inspire a response well beyond appreciation or delight. People get fervent about them. Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's Spring Awakening is a perfect example. Based on the scandalous 1906 masterpiece by German playwright Frank Wedekind, it puts a rock beat to the spectacle--the tragedy--of kids trying to negotiate adolescence in an atmosphere of intense sexual repression. A huge part of what made me a fan when I first saw the show on Broadway was the sense--communicated by Bill T. Jones's antsy choreography and a sort of punk-expressionist aesthetic--that the characters were always on the verge of jumping out of their skins. At least, that is, until they actually took the leap. That urgency isn't present for most of this touring production. Seething in previous versions, a tormented student named Moritz comes across here as a diffident good boy. Sizzling before, a gay seduction scene is played more for laughs. Most everything has been taken down a notch. The show is still don't-miss great--just not scary don't-miss great. --Tony Adler

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