Written by Mary
Back in 2007 the Original Production of Spring Awakening won 8 Tony Awards and gained fame with a large fan following. Now less than ten years later the show is back on Broadway, but it’s not the same show. This time Spring Awakening combines ASL with spoken English language to convey many levels of a sad tale about adolescence and misunderstandings. From the first bars of “Mama Who Bore Me” to the last notes of “Song of Purple Summer” the new Broadway production enthralls its audiences and takes them on a roller coaster of laughs, tears, and hopeful beginnings.
Top reasons to see Spring Awakening
- The entire story of Spring Awakening centers on communication or lack thereof. The parents not trusting their kids or allowing them to think for themselves also ties in with this theme. The great thing about this production is that they take this idea of communication to a whole new level. By having deaf actors be part of the cast, Spring Awakening shows that there are many different ways that people can communicate or even lack in communication and be left in the dark. This theme of communication is what makes this show so universally relatable. There isn’t a single person in the world who hasn’t felt like their parent or mentor or teacher miscommunicated with them when they were children/teenagers. It’s a coming of age story that can be felt by all, which makes this production of it that much more magical. By bringing together two groups of people who normally don’t come together in the theatre world, Spring Awakening is opening up new ways of communication
- The movement and choreography of this show is very strong and unified. Despite half the cast being deaf or hard of hearing the actors are able to move in sync in a way that truly mesmerizes the audience. They even become one at various times in the show in order to represent things like stars and a tree. It truly something to be amazed by. Another thing that is unified in this show is the band/music. The speaking voices for all of the deaf actors (Alex Boniello, Katie Boeck, Daniel David Stewart, Sean Grandillo, Kathryn Gallagher, and Alexandra Winter) all play an instrument that makes up the band. This is something unique because it makes the band a part of the show instead of being a separate entity.
- It is groundbreaking for many different reasons. This is one of the first shows to ever grace Broadway that has both hearing and deaf actors. It’s also the first show to incorporate ASL into not only the show itself but, the lottery to win cheap tickets as well. They can also boast 23 Broadway Debuts between the cast and crew. AMAZING! This show is the first show to feature an actor who is in a wheelchair, Ali Stroker. Finally the actor playing Melchior, Austin McKenzie, can speak as well as sign which is another first. So all in all this show is making headlines for all the right reasons.
- There are technically 3 main characters, Melchior, Moritz (played by Daniel Durant and Boniello), and Wendla (played by Sandra Mae Frank and Boeck). However, this show really shows what it means to be an ensemble cast. Not one character outshines another, they are all perceived as equals, which is why I believe the Tony’s should have an ensemble award. This show takes a story that should be about 3 students who suffer from miscommunication and makes it more about young people as a whole and how they all suffer from a lack of communication.
- The two characters who suffer the most from lack of communication, Moritz and Wendla, are also two of the deaf actors. This allows a parallel to be made between their communication issues and how often the deaf community feels left in the dark because of what they can’t hear. This show makes other parallels as well which is something that makes it so wonderful and relatable. There are parallels made between the deaf actors and their hearing actor. The characters that have 2 faces show what it’s like to show one face to the world (deaf actor) and yet have a more honest and true face underneath (hearing actor).
Run to the Brooks Atkinson (256 W 47th St) as soon as you can! This delightful show is not to be missed!
Here’s what you should keep in mind if you decide to see Spring Awakening:
- Great cast.
- Bathroom lines can also get pretty long, but it moves quickly.
- Very narrow seats; there is not much leg or elbow room.
- ASL is awesome.