I'd like to think that people who came to see the shows I was in during college weren't just trying to sleep with me!
This past weekend, I went back up to visit Brandeis, and I saw a show there. It was very strange; I was the kid who lived in the theater while I was a student. The student center theater is my happy place. And I went up there to see a show that I never even had the opportunity to participate in whatsoever. I'm not even allowed to touch the different parts of the set, or the tools of the theater, or anything that a regular audience member wouldn't touch. I can give the safety walkthrough of that theater that every actor and techie has to receive each semester, but since I'm no longer a student, I'm a liability. It was very, very weird.
But despite being out of place in one of my favorite spots in the world, I absolutely loved the show. It was Brandeis' musical theater group (Tympanium Euphorium, which means "happy ear") and they did Spring Awakening.
Spring Awakening is a big show, and I've heard people try to discourage student groups from doing big shows. It's true that student clubs oftentimes have a difficult time doing said shows justice since they deal with big themes that can be hard to fully portray when you've never lived through anything as big as the show. If you don't have the real world experience, how can you experience it on stage? And I will fully admit that I have seen student productions of these kinds of shows fall flat on their face for exactly those reasons.
But I think that, at their best, student productions can be just as extraordinary as any professional theater. Students have the benefit of having both the same passion and drive as professionals, along with the money and equipment that a structure behind them (and the tuition they pay) can provide.
It basically comes down to youth versus experience. Experience has an easier time putting on a good production with fewer resources. But, especially with university-level resources behind them, students can absolutely put on an amazing show as well. Which Spring Awakening certainly did!
Perhaps I'm still too close to being a student, and I'm just being sentimental. But Brandeis' Spring Awakening made me cry just as much as it did when I saw it on Broadway. Sure, it's a biased experience. But I don't think that makes it any less valid.