Theatre alum has ‘Spring’ in her step and voice


OU alumnus Kryssy Becker plays the lead role of Wendla Bergmann.

Almost spring

This weekend, millions of cheesy cards will be exchanged. CVS will turn a large profit on those gyrating stuffed animals that dance and sing at you in robotic voices, “Come on, baby, light my fire.”

Valentine’s Day brings with it so many traditions: The chocolates. The roses. The…rock music, teenage angst, sexuality and taboo topics.

If you want to skip the chick-flick, head out to Royal Oak’s Baldwin Theatre for Stagecrafter’s presentation of “Spring Awakening, the Musical,” directed by Matthew Miga.

This will be Miga’s third production as a director. Although he is usually drawn to full-blown, Broadway-style musicals, which is obvious from his previous work on “Hairspray” and “Legally Blonde,” this time he chose to direct one of the first shows he saw on Broadway.

“‘Spring Awakening, the Musical’ is very much the anti-thesis of a production of that type,” Miga said.

However, he said that “Spring Awakening” does feature a strong social message, an amazing score and character stories that resonate with his life, which are all important aspects for Miga when he chooses a production.

The musical, based on the 1891 play by Frank Wedekind, takes the audience through the tumultuous teenage years, as characters learn about sexuality and reality.

Miga’s rendition of the nineteenth century German play is bare bones. Utilizing minimal stage visuals, Miga’s simplistic production pays homage to Thorton Wilder’s “Our Town,” which was traditionally performed with only chairs and ladders. 

Though more elements were added as the production evolved, it’s the storyline and the talent that will take center stage in this show.

Playing double

One of the talents in the upcoming musical is OU alumnus Kryssy Becker who plays the lead role of Wendla Bergmann. Having graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in musical theater in 2011, Becker is no stranger to the stage – or to this play, for that matter.

“Three years ago I was in a production of ‘Spring Awakening’ at the Emerald Theatre in Mount Clemens, and I played Wendla then, as well,” Becker said. “So, going into this audition, I was really open to playing any role.”

However, she again landed the role of Wendla, a character that is usually described as “young” and “naïve.” Becker said that is a surface-level description.

“Her naivety and innocence only come out of a lack of knowledge presented to her, but she senses that she’s missing out on something and actively seeks the answer,” Becker said. “She’s very playful and outgoing, maybe even a little precocious at times. And hopeful, she’s very hopeful.”

 Preparing for a new role

Despite Becker’s previous experience with Wendla, she had to look at the character from different perspectives – Director Miga’s. Though familiar with each other’s work, this is the first time the two have worked together.

“She is a true gem to work with,” Miga said. “She brings her own ideas to rehearsal and is willing to try new things as well as make powerful suggestions. In addition, she was able to help choreograph our fight scenes in the show, which was a huge help.”

These actors not only put in hard work with individual roles, but they have been working the past month, three to five nights a week, as volunteers.

Typically, the actors come straight from day jobs to practice, which make it a stressful time, but the finished product is worth it, according to Miga.

“In the end, it’s always thrilling to see how everything pulls together. I do lots of napping and deep breathing to survive these weeks,” he said.

For Becker, it’s taking care of herself physically and mentally.

“This show is very physical, so I’ve been trying to eat well and be kind to my body,” she said. “I definitely try to take care of myself and my voice, listen to music that inspires me for the character and get excited to perform.”

Opening night, which is this Friday, Feb. 13, would make for a unique Valentine’s Day date. Advanced tickets are $18 and the show runs through March 1.

“The story is still so important,” Becker said. “While sex-ed and things like mental illness and suicide are being talked about a lot more now, we still have a long way to go. I think this show serves as a reminder of what society looks like when we slack off.”