May 22, 2008


   Home Page

 News & Features


 Columns & Opinions

   Publisher's Note





 Pop Culture



   Video Games
   CD Reviews







   Music Roundup

   Live Music/DJs

   MP3 & Podcasts






   View Classified Ads

   Place a Classified Ad




 Contact Us

   Hippo Staff

   How to Reach The Hippo

 Past Issues

   Browse by Cover

Making it big
Nashua teen takes lead in Broadway’s Spring Awakening
By Heidi Masek

Alexandra Socha has been on one amazing trip since last summer, when she found out (while at a Pennsylvania truck stop) she’d been cast as an understudy and ensemble member for Spring Awakening, the Broadway musical that won eight Tony awards in 2007. She was on her way to Pittsburgh with her parents to attend a Carnegie Mellon University summer theater program, but that’s not where she ended up.

Since then, Socha, 18, has for the most part traded in the suburban life of a Nashua high schooler for that of a Manhattan actress. And on May 20, she’s scheduled to take over the lead, Wendla (pronounced Vendla, I’ve learned), from Lea Michele, who originated the role.

Socha said the move was the last thing she expected: “I mean, they kind of like hinted at me but I wasn’t really sure.” You never really know why these cast choices are made, she said.

“I think for me, at least, that it is a role that I relate to and can easily understand,” Socha said.

Spring Awakening is based on an 1891 play by Frank Wedekind that was banned for years. This rock musical version is set in a German village in the late 1800s. So there are some interesting lines sung while the actors are in period costumes. Such as, “It’s the bitch of living, nothing but your hand...” The adults refuse to tell teenagers anything about their bodies, and their frustration and confusion about puberty leads to destruction. Wendla’s mother isn’t forthcoming when Wendla asks where babies come from. You can guess how that ends.

Socha got to see the show from many perspectives as an understudy for more than one female role. She said she’ll miss getting to interpret different characters. Now she’ll have a year to let one character grow, she said.

Spring Awakening runs eight times per week, and the show is about two hours long. There is actually some audience seating on stage. The ensemble members sit with the on-stage audience and are supposed to blend in. “I pop up every once in a while and sing,” Socha said. So unless she’s the understudy, she spends a lot of time in a chair. Playing Wendla will be a big change, just in terms of energy required.

Michele is next going to be filming a movie in New York, and then will be singing in a concert of Les Miserables at the Hollywood Bowl.

The male lead in Spring Awakening, Jonathan Groff, is also leaving, so Socha has been in rehearsals with his replacement, Canadian musician Kyle Riabko.

“He’s actually never really acted before,” Socha said. “It’s been cool to watch him learn what this is all about,” she said. Socha has been acting since she was 5 years old. Among the companies she performed with are American Stage Festival, The Lyric Stage and Peacock Players.

Socha was able to work independently toward a diploma from Nashua High South. She’ll be graduating in June, “as long as I finish all my work,” she said. She’s planning to take time off for prom, commencement and a few days of Senior Week so she can join the class trip to Six Flags and the senior boat trip.

In fact, even though she’s in an extremely popular Broadway show, Socha says she heads back up to Nashua when she has days off. She visits with friends, and checks out rehearsals to see what they are working on.

Last summer, Socha said she hoped to attend college while she’s still college-age. That’s still her plan, she says, although she’ll be putting it off for at least this year. She plans to study theater.

If Socha were to play any other role currently on Broadway, she’d love to perform as Nellie in South Pacific. Socha is still working on getting an agent, but has been to a few auditions, anyway. She’s also hoping to try out for other things, like commercials.

Socha saw open calls for Spring Awakening on the play’s MySpace page last year. She stood in line for hours at a Boston audition in April of 2007 and was called back. Auditions were also held in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. In June, a casting representative asked her to audition in New York, and she was offered the job about an hour and a half afterward.

5/15/2008 Curtain calls

5/8/2008 Curtain calls
5/1/2008 Forging ahead
4/24/2008 The Bard, condensed
4/17/2008 'Balance' in Bedford
4/10/2008 Curtain calls
4/3/2008 Singing for a cause
3/27/2008 These aren't recitals folks
3/20/2008 Albee at MRT
3/13/2008 Murder and rhinos
3/6/2008 Murder and rhinos
2/28/2008 The art of theater criticism
2/21/2008 Breaking the cycle
2/14/2008 Curtain Calls
2/7/2008 NH Theatre awards sixth year
1/31/2008 Elvis fans and ghost stories
1/24/2008 Building an audience
1/17/2008 Curtain Calls
1/10/2008 Fate of Annicchiarico
1/3/2008 A little confidence
12/27/2007 Stage notables in 2007
12/20/2007 If all they want for Christmas is two good seats ...
12/13/2007 Summer stock vs. southern NH
12/06/2007 Curtain Calls
11/29/2007 Curtain Calls
11/22/2007 Broadway composer and actress hit Granite State
11/15/2007 One-man play turns audience into students
11/8/2007 Curtain calls
11/1/2007 First times
10/25/2007 Curtain Calls
10/18/2007 Curtain Calls
10/11/2007 American History
10/04/2007 Active in the community
9/27/2007 Stringing single
9/20/2007 Curtain Calls
9/13/2007 Free range
9/6/2007 Curtain Calls
8/30/2007 Curtain Calls
8/23/2007 Curtain Calls
8/16/2007 Curtain Calls
8/9/2007 Curtain Calls
8/2/2007 That deaf, dumb and blind kid
7/26/2007 Potty humor
7/19/2007 Ease on down the road
7/12/2007 Jekyll vs. Hyde
7/5/2007 If it's free, it's for me
6/28/2007 Transformations
6/21/2007 Curtain calls
6/14/2007 No really, you'll get it
6/7/2007 Curtain calls
5/31/2007 Curtain calls
5/24/2007 Putting the camp in camp
5/17/2007 Curtain Calls
5/10/2007 Curtain Calls
5/3/2007 Curtain Calls
4/26/2007 Still going strong
4/19/2007 Vietnam the the Palace
4/12/2007 Confluence
4/5/2007 First look
3/29/2007 Reluctant star
3/15/2007 In a town far away
3/8/2007 Curtain calls
3/1/2007 Into the future
2/22/2007 But will it play in New Hampshire
2/15/2007 Curtain calls
2/8/2007 Family affair
2/1/2007 Curtain calls
1/25/2007 Curtain calls
1/18/2007 Curtain calls
1/11/2007 Curtain calls
1/4/2007 Fork in the road
12/28/2006 Standout performances of '06
12/21/2006 Curtain Calls
12/14/2006 Players remember Peter Bridges
12/07/2006 Young talent
11/30/2006 Lighthearted farce for the holidays
11/23/2006 Curtain Calls
11/16/2006 Good theater
11/9/2006 Preview roundup
11/2/2006 Access to the ancients
10/26/2006 Aida on a Nashua stage
10/19/2006 Children of a Lesser God brilliantly played
10/12/2006 A true love triangle
10/05/2006 Curtain Calls
09/28/2006 Bringing people back to life
09/21/2006 Getting judged
09/14/2006 Long strange journey
09/07/2006 Curtain Calls
08/31/2006 Curtain Calls
08/24/2006 Putting kids in charge
08/17/2006 Curtain Calls
08/10/2006 All theater, all summer
08/03/2006 A Jesus musical, reworked
07/27/2006 A match made in Maine
07/20/2006 Variations on a theme
07/13/2006 I Hate Hamlet
07/06/2006 Serious theater
06/29/2006 L.A. in Peterborough
06/22/2006 Da Vinci to Rube Goldberg
06/15/2006 Peter Bridges remembered
06/08/2006 From Hairspray to monkeys
06/01/2006 Special Theatrics
05/25/2006 Live Brit-com
05/18/2006 Evil stepsisters earn the yuks
05/11/2006 A message to mom
05/04/2006 Meet the cast
04/27/2006 'I hope i get it'
04/20/2006 Find yourself in Yonkers
04/13/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
04/06/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
03/30/2006 Cabaret is Mnchester bound
03/23/2006 A 42nd Street detour
03/16/2006 Actor-director wants your ideas
02/23/2006 Yellow Taxi's Theater Festival opens March 1
02/16/2006 Herding CATS
02/09/2006 An actors' studio
02/02/2006 A thing about love
01/26/2006 Spring theater season warming up
01/19/2006 Gearing up for the big night
01/12/2006 This Phantom is not a menace
01/05/2006 Jim Kelly, sci-fi writer and alternate historian
10th anniversary at Capitol Center
10 Ways To Survive The Audition
A Chorus Line
A Figaro Worth Cheering
A 'Living Newspaper' on stage
A tale of two wives
A Tribute To Music
Actorsingers Deliver On Superstar
Beauty and the Beast
Bedford Off-Broadway Gets Spooky
Being The Beatles, 1964 The Tribute
Bringing NYC to Wilton
Creating the venue from antiques
Crimes Of The Heart
Curtain to rise on Dana Center
Dana Center Takes Center Stage
Ensemble elevates Palace’s Godspell
From stage to the silver screen
Great play, too bad it’s over
Greater Tuna
Humble Boy
It’s cabaret, hear it sing, joke, tease
It's Child's Play
Jesus Christ Superstar
Kids Tackle Edgar Allan Poe
Local boy hits the big time, doesn’t lose his head
Lowell theater opens with a winner of a satire
Madco welcomes Boston actor-director
Meet John Sefel, Director
Meet Suzanne Delle, Yellow Taxi’s driver
Music Man to run three weekends
New Thalian Players
Palace announces 2005-06 season
Peterborough Players’ Solidarity is solid gold
Plaid (II)
Playing with man’s best friend
Proud of the Peacock
Racy, crazy blast at the Palace
Reviving His Passion
Robert Dionne, The man behind the Majestic
Rosemary Dann
Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know
Short-Attention Span Theater
Side Show
Sideshow slips sideways
Spending The Summer On Stage
Stages of learning
Steel Magnolias
Suessical: The Musical
Theater Of The Imagination
Theater Kids Without A School
Theater in the park draws big
The Drawer Boy
The Festival
The Five best shows of 2005
The Prisoner Of Second Avenue
The Russian/American Kids Circus
The Senator Wore Pantyhose
The Tony Awards, they're grrrrreat
The Warmth Of The Cold
Three nights, three shows at the Palace

Under the Caribbean with the little mermaid

Wake up to ‘night Mother