Deaf West’s Acclaimed Production Returns with a Strictly Limited Engagement This Fall — 18 Weeks Only — No Extension Possible
Ken Davenport, Cody Lassen, Hunter Arnold and Deaf West Theatre (Artistic Director David J. Kurs) announced today that Spring Awakening,the Tony Award-winning Best Musical of 2007, will play a strictly limited Broadway engagement at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre (256 West 47thStreet) with previews beginning on Tuesday, September 8 and opening night set for Sunday, September 27. The show will run 18 weeks only, through Saturday, January 9, with no extension possible. It will be performed simultaneously in American Sign Language and spoken English by a cast of 27. Deaf West was last represented on Broadway with the triumphant production of Big River in 2003.
Tickets are on sale today, Tuesday, July 7, at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 877-250-2929. The Brooks Atkinson Theatre box office will open on Monday, August 17.
The innovative and acclaimed production of Spring Awakening recently completed an extended, critically-acclaimed, engagement at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles where the production was expanded from its original, sold-out run at the Rosenthal Theatre in downtown L.A. The Los Angeles Times called Spring Awakening “an emotional triumph,” and said that it “awakens us to the dormant possibilities of this musical, with all the goose-bumps and teardrops to prove it. This is a show for anyone who wants to see a contemporary American musical superbly done.”
Following the recent West Coast production, Duncan Sheik said, “Spring Awakening is very much about the difficulty that parents and children have with communication. So there’s a beautiful metaphor to it being done with this particular set of actors. The musicianship and the vocal performances of the Broadway cast being assembled are second to none, and that combined with the amazing physicality of the signing actors really raises the emotional bar.”
“I couldn’t be more grateful than I am to Deaf West, Michael, and Ken,” Steven Sater added. “It will surely be one of the thrills of my life to watch our young cast sing to New York, every night, in this pure language of the heart.”
The Hollywood Reporter said Spring Awakening has “exceptional performances, inspired staging and brilliant use of sign language.”
BroadwayWorld.com raved that Deaf West’s production is “unlike any production of Spring Awakening I’ve ever seen.”
Spring Awakening, with book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik, is directed by Michael Arden and choreographed by Spencer Liff.
Based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial 1891 expressionist play of the same name and featuring an electrifying pop/rock score, Spring Awakening follows the lives of a group of adolescents as they navigate their journey from adolescence to adulthood in a fusion of morality, sexuality and rock & roll. An extraordinary creative team including Michael Arden and Spencer Liff has reinvented the groundbreaking musical about lost innocence and the struggles of youth in true Deaf West style.
Following its transfer from Atlantic Theatre Company to Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre, the original production of Spring Awakening was the recipient of eight 2007 Tony Awards including Best Musical; four Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical; three Outer Critics Circle Awards including Outstanding New Broadway Musical; two Lucille Lortel Awards including Outstanding Musical; the Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical; and the 2007 Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Musical. Amidst wild critical reception for Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s “ravishing rock score,” including the Tony Award for Best Score and Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics, Spring Awakening launched the careers of its young actors now known for their film, television and theater work, and stunned Broadway with “something unusual and aspiring, something vital and new” (Charles Isherwood, The New York Times).
Director Michael Arden, who plays Patrick on the FX series “Anger Management,” recently originated the title role in The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Paper Mill Playhouse and La Jolla Playhouse and previously appeared in Deaf West productions of Big River on Broadway and Pippin at the Mark Taper Forum. Choreographer Spencer Liff is an Emmy-nominee for his work on FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance” and choreographed the current Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Casting will be announced shortly.
STEVEN SATER (Book and Lyrics) was awarded the 2007 Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score for Spring Awakeningalong with the Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle Awards for Best Lyrics. With alt-rocker Duncan Sheik, he received the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album for Spring Awakening. In addition, the two received The Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the Outer Critics Circle, the Drama Desk, the Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, and Drama League Awards for Best Musical. Steven is the author of numerous plays, including the long-running Carbondale Dreams, Perfect for You, Doll (the Rosenthal Prize, Cincinnati Playhouse); Umbrage (Steppenwolf New Play Prize); A Footnote to the Iliad (New York Stage and Film, The Miniature Theatre of Chester); Asylum (Naked Angels); Murder at the Gates(commissioned by Eye of the Storm); In Search of Lost Wings (Sanford Meisner Theater) and a re-conceived version of Shakespeare’s Tempest, with music by Laurie Anderson, which played London’s Lyric Hammersmith and toured throughout Great Britain. In addition to Spring Awakening, Sater has collaborated with Sheik on the NY premiere of Umbrage (HERE), Nero (The Magic Theatre, workshopped at the New York Shakespeare Festival and New York Stage & Film), and The Nightingale (workshopped at the O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference, La Jolla Playhouse, A.C.T., and New York Theater Workshop). He is also hard at work with System of a Down’s Serj Tankian on a musical version of Prometheus Bound, to be directed by Diane Paulus at the American Repertory Theater. Sater is the lyricist for Sheik’s critically acclaimed album Phantom Moon (Nonesuch), and together the two wrote the songs for Michael Mayer’s feature film A Home at the End of the World (Warner Classics) as well as the independent features Brother’s Shadow and Mary Stuart Masterson’s The Cake Eaters. Sater is also co-creator and executive producer, with Paul Reiser, of recent pilots for both NBC and Sony/FX, and has developed two projects for HBO, and another for Showtime (with Reiser). He is also at work, with Jessie Nelson, on a feature film and is creating an original movie musical for producer Larry Mark. In addition, Steven works as a lyricist with various composers in the pop/rock world — recently writing songs with Burt Bacharach, Johnny Mandel, Andreas Carlsson and William Joseph.
DUNCAN SHEIK (Music). In addition to writing the music for Spring Awakening (2007 Tony Awards for Best Orchestrations and Best Original Score, 2008 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album), Sheik’s other theater credits include: Nero (Another Golden Rome) (currently in development),The Nightingale (currently in development), and Whisper House (currently in development). Recorded works include: Whisper House (Sony/Victor 2009), White Limousine (Rounder 2006), Daylight (Atlantic Records 2002), Phantom Moon (Nonesuch 2001), Humming (Atlantic Records 1998), and Duncan Sheik (Grammy Nomination, Best Male Vocal) (Atlantic Records 1996). Film Scores include: DARE (2009), Little Spirit: Christmas in New York (2008), Capers (2007) and The Cake Eaters (2007). Producer Credits include: Holly Brook (forthcoming CD 2009), Micah Green (2008),Spring Awakening Original Cast Album (Universal 2007) and Chris Garneau (2006).
MICHAEL ARDEN (Director) made his Broadway debut in Deaf West and the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Big River. Directing credits include La Ronde, for The Forest of Arden; For the Record: John Hughes, both in Los Angeles and NYC; A Tale of Two Cities (Associate) on Broadway; and various other plays in bedrooms and kitchens. Other theatre credits include The Times they are a Changin’; Ragtime (Avery Fisher); It’s Only Life; Swimming in the Shallows; Ace; Juno; As You Like It; The Winter’s Tale; The Secret Garden; Pippin (Mark Taper Forum); andAspects of Love, directed by Sir Trevor Nunn (Menier Chocolate Factory, London). Film credits include Source Code, Bride Wars, The Good Shepherd, Over/Under, My Eleventh and The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Michael can currently be seen on the series “Anger Management” on F/X and FOX. Other TV credits include “GCB,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Royal Pains,” “Unforgettable,” “Off the Map,” “Kings,” “The Closer,” “The Forgotten,” “Bones,” “The Return of Jezebel James,” “Cashmere Mafia,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “NUMB3RS.” His concert work includes: Barbra Streisand, Chris Botti, BELOW 54, Feinstein’s at the Regency and Joe’s Pub. Michael also formed the site-specific theater company The Forest of Arden and their immersive production of La Ronde is currently being developed into a feature film. Training: The Julliard School. Michael recently appeared as Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the La Jolla Playhouse.
SPENCER LIFF (Choreographer). Spencer Liff’s choreography can currently be seen on Broadway in Hedwig and The Angry Inch. Spencer’s choreography has been seen in Sleepless in Seattle, at Pasadena Playhouse; Two Gentleman of Verona: A Rock Opera for The Shakespeare Theater Company; a new production of Oliver! for The Human Race Theater; A Snow White Christmas, and Aladdin for Lythgoe Family Productions; On a Clear Day… for MTW (director /choreographer); The Wedding Singer for MTW; Saturday Night Fever for Royal Caribbean; two original shows for Disney’s newest cruise ship The Fantasy; and, Broadway by the Year at Town Hall in NYC. His most recent television work was on the past 5 seasons of the hit FOX television show, “So You Think You Can Dance.” His work on the show earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Choreography in 2012. This year, Spencer choreographed “The Emmy Awards” starring Neil Patrick Harris. Other recent television choreography credits include “Mike and Molly,” “2 Broke Girls,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Parks and Recreation,” and the upcoming MTV series, “Happyland.” As a performer, Spencer has been a memorable presence on stage and screen. He earned his Equity card at the young age of 7 in the first national tour of The Will Rogers Follies, directed by Tommy Tune. He made his Broadway debut in Big -The Musical, followed by The Wedding Singer, Cry-baby, Equus, and 9 to 5. Spencer won the 2008 Fred Astaire Award as Best Male Dancer on Broadway for his role in Cry-baby, for which he was also assistant choreographer and dance captain. Film and TV credits include Hairspray as Mikey; Across The Universe as Daniel; Footloose; “Smash;” and “Gypsy” with Bette Midler. Spencer has danced for two Presidents of The United States, performed on The Tony Awards five times, The Academy Awards twice, The Kennedy Center Honors four times and The Grammy Awards once.
KEN DAVENPORT (Producer) is a Broadway producer whose credits include Kinky Boots (Broadway – Tony Award, National Tour, Toronto and West End), The Visit (Tony nomination), It’s Only a Play, Mothers and Sons (Tony nomination), The Bridges of Madison County, Macbeth starring Alan Cumming, Godspell, Chinglish, Oleanna starring Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles, Speed-the-Plow, Will Ferrell’s You’re Welcome America (Tony nomination), Blithe Spirit starring Angela Lansbury (Broadway, West End and National Tour), and 13, as well as Daddy Long Legs, That Bachelorette Show, Altar Boyz, My First Time, The Awesome 80s Prom, and Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating, & Marriage Off-Broadway. He also produced the award winning These Magnificent Miles: On the Long Road with Red Wanting Blue, a documentary on one of the top unsigned rock bands in the country. Ken was featured on a national commercial for Apple’s iPhone, named one of Crain’s “40 Under Forty” and is one of the co-founders of TEDxBroadway. Combined, Ken’s productions have grossed more than $100 million worldwide and are being produced internationally in over 25 countries including Germany, Mexico, France, and Korea. He created and developed the Broadway board game Be A Broadway Star, as seen on “The Today Show.” He also runs a number of theatrical websites including YourBroadwayGenius.com andDidHeLikeIt.com, for which he also developed a smartphone app. His blog, TheProducersPerspective.com, has been featured in Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, The Gothamist and more. He has written articles for Forbes, Mashable, Imedia and others. Current projects include his adaptation of the novel and film Somewhere in Time, which premiered at Portland Center Stage, Gettin’ The Band Back Together which premiered at George Street Playhouse, as well as bringing the first ever revival of A Few Good Men to Broadway. For more information, visitwww.DavenportTheatrical.com.
CODY LASSEN (Producer) serves as Marketing Director for LA’s Center Theatre Group and its three theatres: The Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum & the Kirk Douglas Theatre, overseeing marketing efforts that result in more than 500,000 tickets and $30 million in ticket revenue annually. Previously, he consulted with major studios, producers and agencies to help them discover how they should market their shows to have the best chance at financial and critical success. Recent producing credits include two sold-out and critically-acclaimed productions of Deaf West’sSpring Awakening, in Los Angeles; Broadway’s Macbeth, starring Alan Cumming; and the upcoming musical Somewhere in Time. Cody is a graduate of DePaul University and the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business and serves as vice-chair of the Board of Directors of GLAAD, the nation’s leading LGBT advocacy organization. Cody lives in Malibu with his partner Nitzan.
HUNTER ARNOLD (Producer) is a Broadway Producer whose recent credits include The Visit (Tony nomination), It’s Only A Play, Mothers and Sons (Tony nomination), The Bridges of Madison County, Kinky Boots (Tony Award), Macbeth with Alan Cumming, Godspell and Chinglish. Upcoming projects include The Great White Hope, Somewhere in Time and A Little More Alive. In addition to his producing projects Hunter is the founder of the New Musical Creative Collective, an organization focusing on the support and development of Broadway’s emerging musical theatre composers, lyricists and book writers. Hunter is also the founder and CEO of ARTech Holdings, LLC, an incubator and holding company focused on generating technologies to support the live arts community. Upcoming projects in this space include an arts education portal and a membership community for accredited, live-theater investors: Broadraise.com.
DEAF WEST THEATRE (DWT) (David J. Kurs, Artistic Director) (Producer)’s productions are renowned for weaving ASL with spoken English to create a seamless ballet of movement and voice, thereby creating a fully inclusive theatrical experience for deaf, hard of hearing and hearing audiences. Spring Awakening marks DWT’s fifth musical production. The company’s Big River received Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and Backstage Garland awards for Best Musical in its L.A. premiere, then went on to garner a Tony nomination and four Drama Desk Awards when it transferred to Broadway. Pippin was produced at the Mark Taper Forum in a co-production with Center Theatre Group, and Sleeping Beauty Wakes, also a co-production with CTG, was presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. DWT’s production of Oliver! was honored with an Ovation Award for Best Musical. Other award-winning productions from Deaf West include Cyrano (a co-production with the Fountain Theatre – Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Production) and A Streetcar Named Desire (Ovation Award for Best Play). In 2005, DWT was selected to receive the Highest Recognition Award by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for its “distinguished contributions to improve and enrich the cultural lives of deaf and hard of hearing actors and theater patrons.” DWT’s most recent production, American Buffalo by David Mamet, premiered February 2015 in association with Cal State Los Angeles.
The Deaf West production of Spring Awakening was originally produced in Los Angeles by Deaf West Theatre, Forest of Arden, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Cody Lassen, Jarrod Musano, Christopher Sepulveda, Ann E. Wareham, Philip & Monica Rosenthal, Chockstone Pictures, John C. Hall, Victoria Morris & Ken Davenport.
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