Spring Awakening Will Make U.K. Premiere in 2009 at Lyric Hammersmith

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19 May 2008

From top: <I>Spring Awakening</I> creators Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater.
From top: Spring Awakening creators Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater.
Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The Lyric Hammersmith has announced that it will present the U.K. premiere of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's Tony Award- winning musical Spring Awakening, with performances commencing Jan. 23, 2009, prior to an official opening Feb. 3.

The original Broadway creative team, including director Michael Mayer and choreographer Bill T. Jones, will re-create their work for London audiences.

David Farr, the current artistic director at the Lyric Hammersmith (but who is bowing out after this season to take up a new appointment as associate director at the RSC), saw the original Off-Broadway run of Spring at the Atlantic Theater, and according to press materials, "has asked the entire creative team behind the original production to find a new generation of young British performers to present the musical on the London stage."

In a press statement Farr said, "We at the Lyric are proud of our collaborative approach to making theatre and are celebrated for the modern and diverse audience that we reach with our work. The Spring Awakening team are ground-breaking artists and we're thrilled to be working alongside them to bring this extraordinary work to the London stage. It is truly a musical for everyone."

Farr's final season as artistic director will also see new plays by David Harrower (whose Blackbird is currently touring the UK) and Peepolykus as well as the return to the Lyric of Frantic Assembly and director Melly Still.



Harrower has written 365, which is being produced by the National Theatre of Scotland, who previously brought their production of The Bacchae to the Lyric. 365 follows the experiences of children in care who are given 24 hours in state-built "practice flats" on the eve of their 18th birthday to prepare them for the world outside. It is directed by Vicky Featherstone and will run Sept. 8-27 with an official opening on Sept. 11, transferring direct from its premiere at this year's Edinburgh International Festival.

Peepolykus – pronounced "people like us" – will bring its latest work, Spyski! (Or The Importance of Being Honest), to the Lyric Oct. 3-Nov. 1 with an official opening on Oct. 13. The company was previously represented in the West End by its comic version of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Frantic Assembly will produce a new, electrifying physical take on Othello, running Nov. 4-22 with an official opening on Nov. 6. The production relocates the play to 21st-century Britain.

Melly Still (who previously directed Watership Down at the Lyric and Coram Boy at the National and on Broadway) will direct a new production of Cinderella, running Nov. 28, 2008-Jan. 3 2009 with an official opening Dec. 5.

Priority booking for members of the theatre's Friends membership scheme opens May 21, with public booking beginning June 9. For tickets contact the box office at 0871 221 1722 or visit www.lyric.co.uk.

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Spring Awakening made its world premiere Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company in June 2006. The musical transferred to Broadway the following November, where it continues to play at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. Based on the 1891 play by Frank Wedekind, Spring Awakening won eight 2007 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The production features direction by Michael Mayer, choreography by Bill T. Jones, book and lyrics by Steven Sater and a score by Duncan Sheik.