A viral video and a PTA petition spell the possible end for 'Spring Awakening.'

By Marc Snetiker
May 01, 2018 at 10:00 PM EDT
Eric Liebowitz/NBC

9 more days until Spring Awakening. 14 more until the end of Rise season one. (41 until the Tony Awards, but it’s sacrilege to even talk about them in the same breath as anything involving Mr. Mazzuchelli.) Who will win rave reviews? At this point, it’s looking more like Rise, which actually has chemistry between cast members, non-controversial subject matter, and viewers actually coming to see it. The same cannot be said for the current state of Stanton High drama.

Let’s get right to it. You, me, Gwen’s nose ring, Simon’s polos, and the 10 things that happened this week on Rise:

1. Mr. Mazzu hears himself being discussed on local radio. The wild ride begins!

2. Ticket sales are spiking for Spring Awakening (if you call 118 seats for a weekend run a spike) because of a viral video made by an anonymous cast member. It’s sexy and weird and has a lot of close-up caressing, which makes you wonder how Mr. Mazzu and Ms. Wolfe didn’t know which one of their students made the video when the sheer proximity to knee-high socks suggests one student hauled a camera crew around the theater. Anyway, ticket sales are popping as a result, but parents (and Principal Ward) demand it be taken down, but it’s too late. The damage is already done: Parents have seen it. And Mr. Saunders has seen it. Mean, old, stoic, God-fearing, problematically hot Mr. Saunders. (Yeah, I said it.)

3. After Simon’s father accuses Mr. Mazzu of directly hurting the school’s children with this show, he vows to do everything in his power to stop the musical from happening. Enter: the petition, signed by a list of concerned parents in the PTA. We know the Saunderses to be the most important P in this TA, but Mrs. Saunders flips out when she finds out that Mr. Saunders signed her name without asking her. They’re now the only parents of drama club members to sign, which humiliates Simon and leads to a major blow-out between the two reserved parents during which Mrs. Saunders effectively asks Mr. Saunders whether he himself might be gay. I can’t say I love the clichéd development that another potential homophobe is secretly just homophobic because he’s closeted — this is the kind of nonsense joke we see constantly with actual dangerous LGBT threat Mike Pence — but still, three cheers for Mrs. Saunders for once again firmly standing up to her domineering (and, let me reiterate, low-key smokeshow) husband.

4. The petition itself somehow reaches the greater school district, leading Principal Ward to call in Ms. Wolfe and offer her the entire drama department if she can make enough changes to the show to appease parents. Finally, a cliffhanger that bears the real drama of Drama!

5. After realizing Robbie has lost his mojo, Mr. Mazzu frees up his schedule for football for the entire week. (Who cares that it’s still tech, the most important week of any theatrical production!? Not this director.) The plan works, at least in restoring the football half of Robbie’s mojo deficiency. It helps that Gordy is on hand for extra tossing, and when Coach finally puts Robbie back in the game, he even throws Gordy in, too. Because of their seven-and-a-half hour marathon of practice, Gordy catches the final throw that wins the game. Robbie celebrates by introducing Mr. Mazzu to his sick mother. Gordy celebrates by getting rejected by Gwen.

6. Gwen has found out that Coach and Vanessa are back at it again, sending her into another downward spiral, this time one from which she wisely but sadly chooses to excludes Gordy. They slow things down, however slowly a thing can be slowed down after you’ve had sex on a beach, but they’ll figure it out.

7. Lilette hates a reboot, especially when it’s her mother’s affair, and the Suarez women’s subsequent argument about Vanessa’s rekindled romance with Coach is enough to make Vanessa storm out of their home after being chided by an ungrateful Lilette one too many times. She really does love Coach, it seems, and he may very well love her back. Lilette will get on board eventually. They’ll figure it out.

8. Simon and Jeremy’s chemistry continues to be drier than Chita Rivera’s vibrato. They’ll figure it out.

9. Maashous goes to meet his birth mother fresh from prison (“Cell Block Tango” situation: confirmed). Gail and Lou are circling the drain of potential adoption — you can just feel it in the way they look at one another when they drive Maashous to his diner dinner date with mom — but it doesn’t seem like Maashous knows which life he’s most keen to lead. I’m not quite certain anyone will actually figure this one out.

10. Finally, I’m coming around on the late-in-the-game Sasha storyline. This week an indecisive Sasha sees a sonogram of her baby at nine weeks, and her desire to fulfill the pregnancy hits home. A very sweet Michael tries to talk her out of it, but it’s ultimately Ms. Wolfe who perhaps does the job. Tracy reveals that she had a child of her own as a teenager and gave it up for adoption; it was the right move for her, and might be the right move for Sasha. It is, for now, their little secret. Emphasis on the “for now,” probably.

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