"The Song of Purple Summer": Spring Awakening Opens in London Feb. 3

News   "The Song of Purple Summer": Spring Awakening Opens in London Feb. 3
The U.K. premiere production of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening officially opens at London's Lyric Hammersmith Feb. 3 following previews that began Jan. 23.

Charlotte Wakefield (Wendla) and Aneurin Barnard (Melchior)
Charlotte Wakefield (Wendla) and Aneurin Barnard (Melchior)

The production recently announced a two-week extension: Originally scheduled to play through Feb. 28, the award-winning musical will now end its run at the Lyric March 14 prior to a possible West End transfer.

A year-long casting search and a series of workshops at the Lyric have brought together a cast featuring 16-24 year olds from throughout the U.K., many of whom are making their professional stage debuts.

The cast includes Aneurin Barnard, Lucy Barker, Natasha Barnes, Chris Barton, Jamie Blackley, Hayley Gallivan, Natalie Garner, Mona Goodwin, Evelyn Hoskins, Edd Judge, Harry McEntire, Jamie Muscato, Gemma O'Duffy, Iwan Rheon, Jos Slovick, Richard Southgate and Charlotte Wakefield. The actors playing the adult roles are Sian Thomas (last seen on the London stage in the National Theatre's production of Fram, who has also appeared at the NT in House and Garden, Sleep With Me, Richard II, The Way of the World, Mountain Giants, The Misanthrope, Countrymania, The Wandering Jew and Square Rounds) and Richard Cordery (last seen on the London stage in Michael Boyd's History Plays cycle at the Roundhouse).

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

David Farr, the departing artistic director at the Lyric Hammersmith (who will be taking 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 at the time the production was first announced, had "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."

Based on the play by Frank Wedekind, the show brings the story of Melchior, a brilliant young teenage student, his troubled friend Moritz, and Wendla, a beautiful young girl on the verge of womanhood, to the British stage. Set against a backdrop of religious and parental repression in 19th century Germany, this fusion of morality, sexuality, and young love reaches out across generations to everyone who has experienced the adolescent journey of personal discovery and sexual awakening.

Following a critically acclaimed premiere Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company in 2006, Spring Awakening arrived at Broadway's Eugene O'Neill Theatre Nov. 16, 2006, and officially opened Dec. 10. The musical ended its run Jan. 18, 2009, following 859 performances and 29 previews on Broadway.

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.

Songs featured in the Tony-winning score are "All That's Known," "And Then There Were None," "Blue Wind/Don't Do Sadness," "Left Behind," "Mamma Who Bore Me," "My Junk, "The Bitch of Living," "The Dark I Know Well," "The Guilty Ones," "The Song of Purple Summer," "The Word of Your Body," "Those You've Known," "Totally Fucked," "Touch Me," "Whispering" and "The Mirror-Blue Night."

To book tickets contact the box office at 0871 2211722 or visit www.lyric.co.uk.

Clockwise from top left: Iwan Rheon (Moritz), Lucy Barker (Ilse), Sian Thomas (Adult Women), Richard Cordery (Adult Men)
Clockwise from top left: Iwan Rheon (Moritz), Lucy Barker (Ilse), Sian Thomas (Adult Women), Richard Cordery (Adult Men)
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