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 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.
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.