Musical Spring Awakening Will Bloom at Eugene O'Neill Theatre

News   Musical Spring Awakening Will Bloom at Eugene O'Neill Theatre Spring Awakening, the Duncan Sheik-Steven Sater musical about emotional earthquakes in the lives of teenagers, will begin Broadway performances Nov. 17 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, producer Jeffrey Richards confirmed.
Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in Spring Awakening.
Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in Spring Awakening. Photo by Monique Carboni

Richards and Jerry Frankel join Ira Pittelman and Tom Hulce as the commercial producers of the pop-rock musical that was a spring sensation at Off-Broadway's Atlantic Theater Company.

No opening date, casting or design team have been announced, but Michael Mayer will again direct, and rising stars Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff are expected to return as teens Wendla and Melchior, who are drawn to each other in a world where parents, ministers and teachers create an atmosphere of shame, silence and ignorance.

The score is by Sheik and book and lyrics are by Sater. Sheik has said in his blog that he's been working on a recording of songs from the show. A recording release, whether cast album or song sampler, would serve as a valuable marketing boost for the show, which would seem to have its eye on the same audience that has kept Rent in the black for a decade.

According to sources in the theatre community, Mayer's earlier concept of placing audience members on stage — flanking the action in hard-back wooden chair to help create a sense of a watchful community — is being explored for the O'Neill as well.

The musical is based on Frank Wedekind's 1891 expressionist play, which was scandalous in its day for addressing sex, violence and suicide. This new musical version has two actors playing all the adult roles as an ensemble of young people strut, rant, wonder and wish — their characters search to understand the coming of age that they cannot avoid. Though the performers are dressed in costumes that suggest late 19th-century clothes, the sound is rock and pop — although fans are calling the sound alternative pop or alt rock.

Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel recently announced they are also bringing Eric Bogosian's Talk Radio to Broadway in the 2006-07 season. Liev Schreiber stars.

Sweeney Todd ends its run at the O'Neill Sept. 3.

John Gallagher, Jr., Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele
John Gallagher, Jr., Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele
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