"Left Behind": John Gallagher, Jr. Exits Spring Awakening Dec. 16

News   "Left Behind": John Gallagher, Jr. Exits Spring Awakening Dec. 16 John Gallagher, Jr. – the young actor who earned a Tony Award for his performance as the ill-fated Moritz in Spring Awakening – plays his final performance in that Tony-winning musical Dec. 16.

Tony winner John Gallagher, Jr. in Spring Awakening.
Tony winner John Gallagher, Jr. in Spring Awakening. Photo by Doug Hamilton

The singing actor has been with Spring Awakening since its final workshop at Lincoln Center, which preceded the show's Off-Broadway world premiere at the Atlantic Theatre Company in June 2006 and the subsequent Broadway transfer.

Gallagher made his Broadway debut portraying a teenager involved in a tragic car accident in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Rabbit Hole. His return to the Broadway stage in Spring Awakening would earn him a 2007 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of the brooding Moritz in the Steven Sater-Duncan Sheik musical based on the expressionistic play by Frank Wedekind.

Shortly after his Tony win, Gallagher, Jr. spoke with Playbill.com about his first performance following the Tony Awards. "We walked out on stage, and it was about two minutes before they stopped applauding and let us start the show," Gallagher, Jr. said. "It was thrilling. And then I, strangely enough, got entrance applause for my character, which was very strange. I had to hide the fact that I started crying immediately when it happened, because it was such a shock. That night was really off the charts."

The 23-year-old actor has also amassed quite a fan base for his edgy performance in the rock-flared, cautionary coming-of-age story. "I think [there is] something about this show that really excites people and speaks to them, especially younger people. I think they're so excited to see young people on stage in a show that takes young people seriously and celebrates them," Gallagher, Jr. remarked.

Gallagher, Jr. has also found success beyond the Broadway stage with his band Old Springs Pike; the group has performed several sold-out concerts at Joe's Pub, Ars Nova, the Zipper Factory and Spiegeltent within the past year. The band, comprised of Gallagher's friends from his home state of Delaware, also won the "Battle of the Broadway Bands" this past spring. "Lost" and "One Tree Hill" star Blake Bashoff will succeed Gallagher, Jr. in the role of Moritz beginning Dec. 18. Also joining the Spring Awakening company in December is three-time Tony nominee Kate Burton, who will succeed Christine Estabrook in the Adult Women roles Dec. 21.

Jonathan Groff, a Tony nominee for his performance as Melchior in Spring Awakening, and co-star Lea Michele have extended their contracts through May 18, 2008. The young cast also includes Skylar Astin (Georg), Lilli Cooper (Martha), Blake Daniel (Ernst), Brian Charles Johnson (Otto), Lauren Pritchard (Ilse), Phoebe Strole (Anna), Jonathan B. Wright (Hanschen), Remy Zaken (Thea) and Glenn Fleshler (Adult Men). The ensemble includes Gerard Canonico, Matt Doyle, Jennifer Damiano and Alexandra Socha.

Spring Awakening features direction by Michael Mayer, choreography by Bill T. Jones, book and lyrics by Steven Sater and a score by Duncan Sheik.

The musical made its world premiere Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company in June 2006. Spring Awakening transferred to Broadway the following November, where it continues to play the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.

For tickets call (212) 239-6200 or visit www.telecharge.com.

Old Springs Pike bandmembers James Cleare, Heather Robb, James Smith and John Gallagher, Jr.
Old Springs Pike bandmembers James Cleare, Heather Robb, James Smith and John Gallagher, Jr. Photo by Monique Carboni