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Headstrong, handsome, and charismatic. He knows much more than the others because of what he reads in books. Melchior is the best friend to Moritz, and often finds himself getting into trouble for standing up for his nervous wreck of a friend. He is also a love interest to Wendla. See Unwanted Harem
for his other admirers (pretty much the whole teenage female cast, bar Martha.)
Played by John Gallagher Jr.
Melchior's insecure best friend whose dreams of women haunt him to the point that he is too afraid to fall asleep. He is disgusted by his new sexual feelings and his inability to control them. As this is the 19th century, he is terrified to even speak
of such things aloud, and asks Melchior to write down the knowledge he needs and to slip it into his satchel after Gym class.
He passes his exams despite falling asleep in classes often, but the two teachers make it so that it seems he has failed as they cannot take on anymore students.
This leads to bad, bad
things for Moritz.
- Adults Are Useless: Many ways for Moritz. Firstly, he is made to fail by Herr Knochenbruch an Fraulein Knuppeldick, then is kicked out of his home by his own father who beats him AND, if that wasn't enough, is then refused his thousand bucks to escape to America by Melchior's mother whom shrugs off his problems.
- Age-Appropriate Angst
- Anime Hair
- Ate His Gun: The stage directions specifically call for this.note
- Break the Cutie
- Driven to Suicide
- Ghost Song: He and Wendla appear to Melchior as ghosts. They float out of their graves and everything.
- "I Want" Song: "The Bitch of Living"
- Love Triangle: Type 3 with Martha and Ilse. They both have feelings for him; he may or may not be oblivious, but his main struggle is trying and failing to cope with his feelings about anyone.
- Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: Played for laughs at first, but it quickly slides into genuine Tear Jerker.
- Sanity Slippage Song / BSOD Song: "Don't Do Sadness." 'Cause you know, I don't do sadness--not even a little bit./ Just don't need it in my life—don't want any part of it./ I don't do sadness--/ Hey, I've done my time, looking back on it all—man, it blows my mind./ I don't do sadness, so been there./ Don't do sadness—just don't care...
An innocent, friendly young woman. A childhood friend to the others and eventual love interest to Melchior. She opens the musical with her song "Mama Who Bore Me", searching for answers to the questions she has about life
- Babies Make Everything Better
- Break the Cutie
- Dr. Feelgood: "Who lives in this house, Mama?"
- Ghost Song: "Those You've Known", and arguably to some shade "Whispering". The latter seems as if Wendla is predicting the consequences of her actions and eventual death.
- "See the father bent in grief/The mother dressed in mourning/Sister crumbles, and the neighbours grumble/Preacher issues warning." Also coupled with Tear Jerker.
- Pajama Clad Heroine: Although, because of her... anemia. It is what she appears in in "Those You've Known" as it is what she probably died in. She changes into her normal clothes for "The Song of Purple Summer."
Played by Lauren Pritchard
A childhood friend of the group. She is seen as a sign of something that could happen to Martha if she speaks out about what happens to her at home. Ilse is portrayed in "The Dark I Know Well" as an echo of what Martha is going through; Ilse was beaten and sexually abused by her father, and Martha is at the time of the song. Martha yearns to escape, and we never actually learn if she does. Ilse now lives in an artist's colony named Priapia with the Bohemians, but the girls think of this as no way to live for their fallen friend. She offers Moritz to come home with her, implying they could be a lot more, yet he turns her down.
She is symbolically seen as Moritz's last chance of redemption, and the "blue wind" as opposed to Moritz's rash and reckless summer wind he ponders on before committing suicide
- Abusive Parents: "Ilse! Storytime!"
- Childhood Friend Romance: And how.
- Counterpoint Duet: "Don't Do Sadness/Blue Wind"
- Innocence Lost: "Until this morning, when he woke me with a gun, set against my breast. He said: 'One twitch and it's the end.' Really gave me the goose bumps."
- Lonely Together: "The Dark I Know Well" for her and Martha.
- Love Triangle: Type 3 with Martha and Moritz. She and Martha have feelings for Moritz, who can't quite handle his feelings for anyone.
- MacGuffin: The flowers she carries are, you guessed it, purple summer flowers—the name of the song of redemption and new life that Ilse leads the whole cast in at the end of the show. But before this and when Moritz rejects her, she runs back to Priapia. These flowers become the flowers the teenagers place on Moritz's open casket one by one, and the actress playing Ilse must drop them in an exact place as she runs off.
- Mad Artist: The men she models for. One of them isn't that bad (chasing her around and dabbing her with paint), but the other one... see Innocence Lost above.
- Sexy Shirt Switch: For her last scene with Moritz, she wears nothing but a man's white shirt. Less sexy when you consider she's a teenager, and who that shirt belongs to.
- Wild Hair: In her original incarnation.
Played by Jonathan B. Wright
A very humorous, almost arrogant classmate of the boys. An effortless perfectionist who easily seduces Ernst.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Depending on the actor, Hanschen can vary from smug but good-hearted to a sleazy, horny seducer.
- Bury Your Gays: Averted. He and Hanschen survive the play completely intact (if by virtue of disappearing from the action for a bit when Melchior's story comes back into focus) and the original play was strongly censored because it did not show the boys as criminals receiving inevitable punishment. (As well as, y'know, Wendla's rape and... the general plot.)
- A Date with Rosie Palms
Played by Gideon Glick
A naive classmate of the boys who falls deeply for Hanschen's seduction.
Played by Skylar Astin
Another classmate who lusts after his older, busty piano teacher Fraulein Grossenbusterhaulter.
Played by Brian Charles Johnson
Another classmate. He dreamt of his mother, as Melchior humorously reveals to Moritz in an effort to help him relax.
Played by Remy Zaken
One of Wendla's friends, a girl who tries to brush her feelings of sexual desire under the carpet to please adults. She tries to understand Martha's problems after she reveals them by saying that her Uncle Klaus says that "if you don't discipline a child, you don't love it." Martha simply replies with "Well, that must be."
Played by Lilli Cooper
One of Wendla's friends who is abused sexually by her father. She unwittingly reveals feelings for that "sad, soulful sleepyhead Moritz Stiefel" much to the dismay of her friends. She is not a major character, but shows her friends her bruises from her father. As songs in this musical are considered inner monologues, it is shown that she can't tell her friends the whole story.
Played by Phoebe Strole
One of Wendla's friends, who cannot wrap her head around Martha's trials.