Monday, May 30, 2011


The Tony Awards are coming, and you will have to excuse my nerdy impulses. I'm wondering if the musical Spring Awakening will create any little Melchiors.

Melchior (pronounced "MEL-kee-or") is a Persian name derived from Farsi elements. Melk means "king" and quart means "city," so together they form "king city." In Christianity, this is the name of one of the Three Wise Men, who brought gifts to the baby Jesus.

If you use this name, you won't have any shortage of namesakes. It appears that Melchior was a popular name, in Europe anyway, between the late Middle Ages into the 1800s. Many of them are well known for religious reasons and one of them is a saint. Melchior Hammellmann was beheaded for Witchcraft in Germany in 1628. There's also a sizable amount of artists, travelers, writers, and politicians. And that's just the ones who have Melchior as a first name, it is also a well used family name.

Now on to Spring Awakening. The hero of this musical is a rebellious 14-year-old boy named Melchior Gabor. The musical is based on a play by Frank Wedekind, which premiered in Germany almost exactly 100 years before the musical. Wedekind's Spring Awakening criticized the sexually oppressive culture of the late 1800s and early 1900s. The play shocked viewers, and was often banned.

In the musical, the story pretty much remained the same. Melchior Gabor is an Atheist who often challenges the teachers at school. Unlike his fellow students, he knows about the "facts of life." He becomes attracted to Wendla, a girl that he knew ever since he was a child. I don't want to give away too much of the story for those that haven't seen the play. But the musical adaptation came during a time when people were willing to embrace it, it won eight Tony Awards.

Melchior has never appeared in the top 1,000 in the United States, which makes it a unique option. Due to it's Christian past, it could be a good option for people living in the Bible belt. And it's a unique way to show off you're love of all things Broadway.


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