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When one is confronted with the luminous beauty of Broadway starlet Emily Kinney, it’s inconceivable that she could have experienced even a sliver of the teen angst portrayed in the award-winning Broadway musical “Spring Awakening.”
The 24-year-old blonde, blue-eyed Williamsburg resident told GO Brooklyn that there are several themes in the show — in which she recently took on the role of teenager Anna — that resonate with her.
“There are so many moments! Melchior [played by hunky ‘Weeds’ star Hunter Parrish] has this moment when he says there’s got to be more than the things [adults] are teaching me, there has to be more for me. I remember feeling like that in high school, because I knew I wanted to sing and act. I remember thinking, ‘There’s got to be a way out of Nebraska!’
“And [in ‘Spring Awakening,’ when] the parent is having a hard time talking to her daughter about sex — I was raised Catholic, and there was only one way of thinking about sex and that was not to have it! When you’re only taught one side of the issue, it left you as kid to figure it out yourself.”
The show, which is set in a provincial German town in the 1890s, not only tackles difficult subjects, such as child abuse, teen pregnancy and suicide, it requires some fancy footwork — choreographed by Bill T. Jones with music by Duncan Sheik — from the cast which shares the stage with some of the audience members.
“It’s a different feel,” said Kinney. “Usually, when I go to the theater, it feels like I’m watching a movie. The stage is very separate from me as an audience member. What’s cool about this show is that we’re sitting with the audience, coming out in a big circle. The audience is on stage and surrounding us. We’ll pop up and do our scene, and it’s a great ensemble feeling … The audience is very aware that this is a play, and they’re part of it as well, and I think it’s really special.”
Although she’s enjoying her Broadway debut — and the steady paycheck that comes with it — Kinney is also enamored with Williamsburg, which she discovered two years ago.
“Before doing this show, I worked at Gimme Coffee for almost a year,” said Kinney. “Now I’m friends with people that still work there, and I’ve made friends in the neighborhood. I spend a lot of time there; I love going to Wombat, a little Australian restaurant. I’m vegetarian, and they have the best veggie burger I’ve ever had. And they’re just a great place to get cocktails — and so close to where I live!”
Kinney said that when her parents — an agronomist and an accountant — visited recently, they were as proud of her professional accomplishments as they were of her ability to adapt to big city life after living in a town with a population of just a few thousand.
“When I moved to New York City, I came to Brooklyn for the cheaper rent, but I found that I don’t want to leave. A lot of the people from the show live in Midtown, because it’s easier with a show every night. And now that I have a steadier paycheck, I could move there, too. But I find myself not sure that I want to do that. I have such a great support system here.”
“Spring Awakening” performances take place at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre (230 West 49th St. between Broadway and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan) at 8 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 7 pm on Tuesdays, and 2 pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Tickets are $40-$122. For tickets, call (212) 239-6200. For information, visit www.springawakening.com.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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