Sheik, Sater, Hulce and Pittelman Speak Following Spring Awakening Final Performance

News   Sheik, Sater, Hulce and Pittelman Speak Following Spring Awakening Final Performance Following the standing-room only final performance of the Tony-winning Spring Awakening Jan. 18 — which included an immediate encore of the exuberant "Totally F***ed" — members of the producing and creative team spoke about bringing the show to fruition.

Hunter Parrish and Gerard Canonico
Hunter Parrish and Gerard Canonico Photo by Joan Marcus and Cass Bird

Excerpts from the speeches by lead producers Ira Pittelman and Tom Hulce and by co-creators Steven Sater (book and lyrics) and Duncan Sheik (music) follow:

 

 

  • Pittelman: "We've played almost 900 performances; we've played more than two years on Broadway, and though this is the last night in New York, this is not the end of Spring Awakening. Over the next three years, our tour will play 45 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Spring Awakening will be produced in 18 countries, in 14 different languages, so our beautiful, loving passionate transformative show will, in fact, run forever."

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  • Hulce: "There are so many people we need to thank with this amazing, unprecedented adventure, first and foremost is the most amazing cast, our most incredible band members who have been with us from the beginning. . . . This is one of the most incredible rooms in New York to perform in, and we are so grateful for the hospitality and support of our friends at Jujamcyn. . . ."  

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  • Pittelman: "We also want to thank our producing partners Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel. . . . [and] all of our passionate, courageous and wonderful producing partners and investors — thank you so much. A very, very special thanks to our friend and mentor; he's been with us every step of the way — I don't think we could have done this without him — Manny Azenberg. . . . Can I just say, I'd like to thank Tom...  

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  • Hulce: "I love you Ira. . . . Here we go. Ten years ago, Steven Sater had this genius, crazy idea, and he invited his friends Duncan Sheik and Michael Mayer to join him in making this seemingly impossible idea into something incredibly gorgeous. Along the way there have been many people who have given their support. We want to thank La Jolla Playhouse, we want to thank the Sundance Theatre Lab. We want to thank Todd Haimes and the Roundabout Theatre Company. A special thanks to John Nakagawa, who I think is here tonight, and the American Songbook series of Lincoln Center. And now we come to the heart of this adventure: the Atlantic Theatre Company. . . . You gave us your guidance and your support and most of all and most crucially, you gave us your home: a spectacular and safe place where Spring Awakening could find itself and become itself and grow into the world, and for that we are forever, ever grateful. And, especially, you gave us a most remarkably, exceptionally talented cast of young people. "Believe me, we are saving the best for last but before we do, the other thing the Atlantic helped us with was to assemble a brilliant creative team, and with us here tonight is our extraordinary music director Kimberly Grigsby. Our resident director Bea Terry is here. But most noticeably absent tonight is our design team - our choreographer Bill T. Jones, his associate, and our director Michael Mayer. They are in London in final tech rehearsals for the launch of Spring Awakening, the British version, so they couldn't be with us, and we send them our boundless thanks for their inspired work and in return they sent their love to all tonight in the form of a lyric, which before we turn this over to the founders of our feast, I will read. It's written by a theatre songwriter — it's from Anyone Can Whistle:

    'With so little to be sure of,
    If there's anything at all.
    If there's anything at all,
    I'm sure of here and now and us together.
    Thanks for everything we did,
    Everything that's past,
    Everything's that's over too fast.
    None of it was wasted,
    All of it will last:
    Everything that's here and now and us together.
    It was marvelous to know you
    And it isn't really through.
    Crazy business this, this life we live in-
    Can't complain about the time we're given-
    With so little to be sure of in this world,
    We had a moment.
    A marvelous moment.'

    There's no greater honor or pleasure than for Ira and I and everyone gathered upon this stage than to give you Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik."

     

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  • Duncan Sheik: "I'm not quite sure who organized the falling snow and the tolling bells as we entered the theatre, but it was a nice touch. As I sat in the audience tonight, I realized how much this is a show about partings, about saying goodbye and how beautiful and cathartic that can be, and I can't thank you all enough for sharing this moment - one of the best moments of my life."  

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  • Steven Sater: "So I guess it really was ten years ago in February of '99 that I proposed to Duncan that we take this fearless children's tragedy written by Frank Wedekind and turn it into a piece of musical theatre. Shortly thereafter, Michael and Duncan and I really determined that we would touch the troubled heart of youth around the world and tonight at intermission this young man Tom came up to me and said, 'If you and Duncan hadn't decided to do this, I don't know what I would have done, I don't know what my life would have been,' and I just think we never could have dreamed - who can say what dreams are? — that we could touch this many hearts and have our own hearts touched in return. I was thinking much like Duncan; I was thinking this is a play filled with ghosts and learning to live with our ghosts, and it's only in the final scene, really, that we see that the ghosts in our minds and the ghosts in the moonlight can become a source of nurture and encouragement for the ghosts still left behind. Tonight, in some way, Spring Awakening on Broadway is becoming a ghost. It's a series of performances and actors and songs we've known, but I think for me — for many of us — those songs, those performances, those audiences will walk with our hearts and be a source of nurture through times of darkness and light and so in that sense the dream will never end. And for two-and-a-half years, for all these incredible performances and for tonight most of all, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart." Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik penned the score for Spring Awakening with book and lyrics by Steven Sater.

    In addition to winning the 2007 Tony Award for Best Musical, Spring Awakening earned eight Tony Awards, including honors for director Michael Mayer, choreographer Bill T. Jones, Duncan Sheik (Best Score and Orchestrations), Steven Sater (Best Book and Best Score), lighting designer Kevin Adams and actor John Gallagher Jr., who earned Best Featured Actor in a Musical for originating the role of the ill-fated Moritz. The original company also featured Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele.

    The final Broadway cast featured Gerard Canonico as Moritz, Hunter Parrish as Melchior and Alexandra Socha as Wendla with Blake Daniel (Ernst), Emma Hunton (Ilse), Matt Doyle (Hanschen), Andrew Durand (Georg), Amanda Castaños (Martha), Gabriel Violett (Otto), Emily Kinney (Anna), Caitlin Kinnunen (Thea), Christine Estabrook (Adult Women), Glenn Fleshler (Adult Men), Zach Reiner-Harris, Morgan Karr, Alice Lee, Eryn Murman and Jesse Swenson with understudies Tony Carlin and Frances Mercanti-Anthony.

    For further information visit www.springawakening.com.

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