Spring in December! Cast and Dates for Broadway's Awakening Announced

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25 Aug 2006

Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in the Atlantic Production of <I>Spring Awakening</I>.
Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in the Atlantic Production of Spring Awakening.
Photo by Monique Carboni

The Broadway production of Spring Awakening, the Duncan Sheik-Steven Sater musical about emotional earthquakes in the lives of teenagers, will feature its acclaimed Off-Broadway cast and creative team, the producers announced Aug. 26.

Previews begin Nov. 17 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre toward an opening night of Dec. 10.

Returning in the roles they created Off-Broadway is the entire youth ensemble: Skylar Astin (Georg), Lilli Cooper (Martha), John Gallagher Jr. (Moritz), Gideon Glick (Ernst), Jonathan Groff (Melchior), Brian Johnson (Otto), Lea Michele (Wendla), Lauren Pritchard (Ilse), Phoebe Strole (Anna), Jonathan B. Wright (Hanschen) and Remy Zaken (Thea).

The two adult-character performers have not been announced.

Michael Mayer (A View from the Bridge, Side Man, Thoroughly Modern Millie) again directs, and choreographer Bill T. Jones returns.



Also returning are costume designer Susan Hilferty, set designer Christine Jones and lighting designer Kevin Adams.

The producing team for Spring Awakening is Ira Pittelman, Tom Hulce, Jeffrey Richards & Jerry Frankel.

The performance schedule will be Monday and Wednesday-Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 & 8 PM, Sunday at 3 & 7:30 PM. Tuesday is the dark night.

During Thanksgiving week there will be a special performance Tuesday Nov. 21 at 8 PM (and no Wednesday performance). Tickets will be available through Telecharge at (212) 239-6200. No on sale date has been announced.

There will also be a day-of-performance student rush ticket offered. Details will be announced.

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In recent weeks, Jeffrey Richards (The Pajama Game, Talk Radio) and Jerry Frankel joined 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.

Central to the musical are Melchior and Wendla, teens 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.