Season of Love for These Young Stars of WaterTower's Spring Awakening

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Mark Oristano
Adam Garst, Kayla Carlyle, Jonathan Gilland and Erica Harte
In a big cast of hot young actors, two of the stars of WaterTower Theatre's current production of Spring Awakening are sizzling standouts: Adam Garst, a 2010 Baylor theater grad in only his second role on a local stage, and Kayla Carlyle, who's been acting and singing professionally in Dallas and Fort Worth for the past five years.

In the Tony-winning rock musical by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, Garst plays sexually charged German schoolboy Moritz Stiefel, one of two leading male roles. Carlyle has a supporting role as Ilse, a teenager wise beyond her years and longing for the more innocent days of childhood. These two characters share a long, intense scene and a rocking duet in the second act -- the best moments, dramatically and musically, in this production.

If you saw the Broadway version of Spring Awakening or caught the tour that came to the Winspear last year, you should venture to WaterTower's to discover how much better Garst and Carlyle are than their counterparts in those. If you haven't seen this musical before, WaterTower's may be less provocative (no nudity) than others, but it's well worth the ticket.

Like the excited young fans who wait in the WaterTower lobby to meet these actors after every performance, we stalked Garst and Carlyle to find out who they are and how they do what they do.

First up, Adam Garst, a native of Sugarland, Texas, where he was a "choir kid" in high school.

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Mark Oristano
You Baylor theater kids are taking over the Dallas theater scene, aren't you?
Adam Garst: I do know a lot of people here. We have a big base of Baylor people in LA, too, working their way up. Dallas theaters are important in terms of Baylor's reputation. I came here because I knew I could start networking fast. I wanted to continue doing theater and get on my feet. I'm working toward building my resume and getting my Equity card and eventually moving to New York or LA. But I'll be here for a while. One of my goals is to work at the Dallas Theater Center. I've got an audition with them soon.

Do you have a day job?
I'm looking for one at Starbucks or something. Right now this show is my job.

The way Hair was in the '60s and '70s, and Rent in the '90s, Spring Awakening now is the show young people relate to and young musical theater actors dream of doing. Was Moritz on your dream role list?
He was. I thought I was running out of time because of how old I am now [24]. In terms of musical theater, there aren't many good baritone roles, like lead roles. Tenor is the hot thing in contemporary musical theater now. But this show is perfect for my voice. I relate to Moritz in a lot of ways. Just the ADHD and how twitchy he is.

Do you have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
I did have it, but it's probably just ADD now. I've lost a bit of the H. Throughout high school I was on Adderall, which I hated. It was terrible. I hated the way it made me feel. Then I found that theater was sort of my outlet to get rid of that extraneous energy. I could put it all out onstage.

There were some walkouts the night I saw your show. Why does Spring Awakening upset some people? Is it the wanking and spanking?
This show touches nerves. There are still taboos in talking about sex. A lot of subscribers at WaterTower are older and grew up not talking about sex. We weren't surprised that people were going to leave. It's bringing up serious issues and some people don't like the message. Onstage it doesn't faze us at all.

Do you have a favorite moment in the show?
My favorite song is "Don't Do Sadness." But my favorite moment is the scene where Moritz confronts his father. I only say a few lines and then get slapped. Steven Pounders, who plays my father, was one of my professors at Baylor and I'd never gotten to act with him. He's incredible. He gives you so much. That scene is always right there. I don't have to try at all.


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WaterTower Theatre

15650 Addison Road, Addison, TX

Category: General

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