Virginia Rep Announces the opening of the Broadway hit, Spring Awakening, at the Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre, 114 West Broad Street, on June 15 and running through July 22. Winner of eight 2007 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Spring Awakening examines the unbridled energy that ignites the journey from youth to adulthood. Featuring a live band, on stage seating, and an outstanding young cast, Spring Awakening is the first production under the Virginia Rep name after the merger of Barksdale and Theatre IV.
Based on the 1892 play by Frank Wedikind and featuring an explosive indie-rock, folk-infused score by Grammy Award winner Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, this powerful musical journey follows a group of German teenagers as they endure the tumult of discovering their sexuality. The original play was banned in Germany in the late 1800’s for over two decades because of the controversial subject matter.
The original storyline explores the universal issues of adolescent sexuality, teen pregnancy, child abuse, and suicide – issues as prevalent in today’s society as they were 125 years ago. While the teens long for information and communication with adults, the older generation ignores their plea and the results are tragic.
Associate Artistic Director of Virginia Rep and Director of Spring Awakening, Chase Kniffen, calls the musical groundbreaking. “The musical version expands on the period play, adding a contemporary music score and giving voice to the youth. We know the show will challenge some audiences due to the explicit language and partial nudity in one scene, but we hope the production encourages communication between parents and kids about these important issues.”
Virginia Rep has planned four talkbacks with licensed social workers to discuss the issues presented in the musical. This production is recommended for ages 16 and older.
Virginia Rep welcomes Oliver Houser as Melchior in his first appearance on the November stage. Oliver recently graduated from LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts (the “Fame School”) and will continue in music composition at Hunter College in the fall. He began his career performing with the New York City Opera as a child and appeared in many productions, including Marc Lamos’ celebrated staging of Il Re Pasotre for the Mostly Mozart Festival. Television credits include What Would You Do? on ABC, Phowned on Spike TV and Life on the Line on Oxygen starring Ally Sheedy.
Ali Thibodeau (Wendla) is well known for her roles at Virginia Rep including Co Choreographer and Bird Girl in the recent Seussical, Liesl in Sound of Music, and Miss Dorothy in Thoroughly Modern Millie (2009 RTCC Award).
Returning to the November stage after eight years, John Mincks (Moritz) is a rising junior at Virginia Commonwealth University. Recent credits include Troilus in Troilus and Cressida and Henry in Lord of the Flies at Henley Street Theatre. In his spare time he is the lead singer of local indie-rock band, Parlour Shakedown.
The show will feature a seven person live band under the direction of Sandy Dacus, seen most recently on the grand piano in Barksdale’s My Fair Lady. Other music direction credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2011 RTCC award), The Sound of Music, The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee and Guys and Dolls (2008 RTCC Award).
Artistic Director of Starr Foster Dance Project and faculty member of the Richmond Ballet, Starrene Foster will bring her award winning talents to the production as lead choreographer.
The creative team are Direction Chase Kniffen, Choreography STARRENE FOSTER, Music Direction SANDY DACUS, Scenic Design Brian C. Barker, Lighting Design LYNNE M. HARTMAN, Costume Design SARAH GRADY, Sound Design DEREK DUMAIS, Voice, Speech and Text Coach STACEY CABAJ, and Stage Management WENDY VANDERGRIFT.
The cast are:
The Adult Women…………………………..………SUSAN SANFORD