Twink awakening

Posted on 17 Mar 2010 at 9:11am

20-year old Taylor Trensch gets his dream role in tour of ‘Spring Awakening’


THE BITCH OF LIVING | Trensch has a lot in common with his character Moritz. (Photo by Paul Kolnik)

SPRING AWAKENING
Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. . March 23–April 4. $25–$120. ATTPAC.org.

Adorable, 20-year-old Taylor Trensch is living his dream.

The college student from Tampa, Fla., first saw Spring Awakening off-Broadway in 2006, making several return visits to the show once it hit Broadway. He identified with the play about sexual awakening in turn-of-the-century Europe — so much so, he submitted an audition video via the show’s online casting site a couple years later. By July 2009, he was in rehearsals, and officially joined the cast of the national tour in October.

Trensch plays Moritz, one of the key roles in the musical that won eight Tony Awards, including best musical. While taking a break from performing in Greenville, S.C., Trensch took a few moments to talk about the show, its gay context and his next dream role now that he’s already playing his first. •

— Steven Lindsey

Dallas Voice: How would you sum up Spring Awakening in one paragraph? Trensch: It’s a story of teens in 1891 Germany navigating through their sexuality. It’s set to this amazing indie-rock score by Duncan Sheik. It’s a classical play blended with a rock concert. It’s like nothing you’ll ever see.

Describe your character, Moritz. Moritz is tormented by his own puberty. He’s floundering in school and no matter how hard he tries to succeed he just can’t. Out of all the characters, I think he’s closest to my high school experience. He’s a misfit; nothing he does is right. In high school I was never able to completely fit in with everyone else.

What is your favorite song in the show? It changes every performance but one that’s almost always up there is "Don’t Do Sadness/Blue Wind," which is a duet between my character and Ilse. It’s the song that really grabbed me when I first listened to the soundtrack.

How does a touring production like this compare to your previous work in community theater? It’s amazing. We’re treated so well here. It’s funny how similar they can be, though — it’s like we’re a group of kids putting on a show. Sometimes it’s like summer camp. I hope that’s the way all productions are.

Does the touring production differ from the Broadway show? They added a few extra set pieces and art, but the staging is pretty much the same. The director, Michael Mayer, is super nice and let us reinvent a lot of the characters. He knows we’re not the original cast and don’t have their same frames of reference.

What do you like to do in each city when not performing on stage? I sleep for as long as possible. We kind of go out and explore whatever the city is famous for. We ask people who come to the show what they recommend we do.

What’s your favorite city so far? The very first city for me was Washington, D.C. I think that’s my favorite because it was my first. Plus we got to perform at the Kennedy Center, which was really cool. Hopefully Dallas will be my next favorite city.

Have you been to Dallas before? No, but we’ve heard a lot about the new venue. I’m excited to kind of break it in. I have a bunch of friends in Dallas who think that the people in the town will enjoy [the show]. Some of the cast said it was a little tough in Houston, but I’m hoping a city like Dallas will be able to embrace the material a little more.

In one of your last blog entries, you mentioned that you’d performed in Spring Awakening 86 times. What will you be up to when the curtain goes up Tuesday? I stopped counting! [Laughs] I’ll probably just count down closer toward the end. I’m guessing like 150?

What is the gay vibe backstage? There’s some gay people working on our technical stuff as well as actors. It’s been one big happy family. Everyone is so open and accepting because they work in theater. Everyone’s beliefs and orientations are really just, whatever.

Are there any gay elements to the show itself? Yeah, there’s a romantic plot in a hetero relationship, but there’s a subplot that’s homosexual. It’s super endearing and hilarious. As a gay actor, it also got me interested in the show because of the fact that there’s actually a homosexual relationship present.

What show have you seen lately that’s on your list of favorites? Actually, Michael Mayer, our director, is launching a production, American Idiot, with music by Green Day that should open next month. We got a chance to see it on the road and it’s outrageous. It’s pretty much their album, American Idiot, plucked out and set on the stage.

So what’s your dream role? This was my dream role, so now I have to find another one. When I get older I hope to play Richard III in but I’ll have to wait a few decades for that one I guess.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 19, 2010.

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