PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: "The Song of Purple Summer": A Look Behind the Scenes at Deaf West Theatre's Spring Awakening | Playbill

News PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: "The Song of Purple Summer": A Look Behind the Scenes at Deaf West Theatre's Spring Awakening Deaf West Theatre in association with The Forest of Arden present an immersive production of the Tony-winning Spring Awakening, performed simultaneously in American Sign Language and spoken English. Cast member Sean Grandillo, who performs the vocals for Otto and plays in the band, offers an exclusive look backstage.

PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: "The Song of Purple Summer": A Look Behind the Scenes at Deaf West Theatre's Spring Awakening


Directed by Michael Arden with musical direction by Jared Stein and choreography by Spencer Liff, the production will continue through Nov. 9.

Read the feature: "The Word of Your Body" is Reborn in Deaf West's Spring Awakening The cast of 25 deaf, hard of hearing and hearing actors and musicians includes Joey Antonio, Miles Barbee, Jimmy Bellinger, Katie Boeck, Joshua Castille, Julian Comeau, Daniel Durant, Treshelle Edmond, Max Fishman, Sandra Mae Frank, Kathryn Gallagher, Gabrielle Garza, Sean Grandillo, Karla Gutierrez, Joseph Haro, Amelia Hensley, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Marmion, Austin McKenzie, Lauren Patten, Natacha Roi, Rustin Cole Sailors, Daniel David Stewart, Ali Stroker and Alexandra Winter.

“The mix of sign language and choreography performed by this amazing young cast brings the songs to life in a completely new way,” said director Arden in an earlier statement. “It’s our hope that this reimagining will kindle a new connection between the hearing and deaf communities.”

Deaf West artistic director David J. Kurs added, “The play is all about the fraught relationship between parent and child, about navigating the world without strong guidance. The inability of the characters in Spring Awakening to connect to and communicate with their parents is similar to the experience of many deaf children.”

Spring Awakening features book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik. Based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial 1891 expressionist play of the same name, the musical, according to press notes, "follows the lives of a group of adolescents as they navigate their entry into sexual awareness."

The production has scenic and costume design by Dane Laffrey and Christopher Scott Murillo; lighting design by Travis Hagenbuch; sound design by Philip G. Allen; and hair design by Carol Doran. ASL Masters are Anthony Natale, Elizabeth Greene and Shoshannah Stern. The production stage manager is T.J. Kearney and production manager is Frier McCollister.

The production was developed and previously workshopped with Deaf West by Arden and Andy Mientus.

David J. Kurs, Christopher Sepulveda and Ann E. Wareham produce for Deaf West Theatre.

Performances take place in the Rosenthal Theater at Inner City Arts, 720 Kohler Street in downtown L.A. For reservations and information, call (818) 762-2998 (voice) or go to

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