Spring Awakening (musical)

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This article is about a 2006 Broadway musical adaptation. For the original 1906 play, see Spring Awakening (play). For the music festival in Chicago, see Spring Awakening (festival).
Spring Awakening
Spring awakening.jpg
Original Broadway Recording
Music Duncan Sheik
Lyrics Steven Sater
Book Steven Sater
Basis Spring Awakening
by Frank Wedekind
Productions 2006 Off-Broadway
2006 Broadway
2008 First US Tour
2009 West End
2009 Vienna
2010 Buenos Aires
2010 Second US Tour
2015 Caracas
2015 Broadway revival
2016 Leicester NYMTuk
2016 Barcelona
2017 Third US Tour
Awards Tony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Book
Tony Award for Best Score
Drama Desk Outstanding Musical
Drama Desk Outstanding Music
Drama Desk Outstanding Lyrics
Outer Critics Outstanding Musical
Outer Critics Outstanding Score
Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical
Olivier Award for Best New Musical
Grammy Award Musical Show Album

Spring Awakening is a rock musical with music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater. It is based on the German play Spring Awakening (1891) by Frank Wedekind. Set in late-19th-century Germany, the musical tells the story of teenagers discovering the inner and outer tumult of teenage sexuality. In the musical, alternative rock is employed as part of the folk-infused rock score.

Following its conception in the late 1990s and various workshops, concerts, rewrites and its Off-Broadway debut, the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening opened at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on December 10, 2006. Its cast included Jonathan Groff, Lea Michele, Skylar Astin, Carla Bianco and John Gallagher, Jr. while its creative team comprised director Michael Mayer and choreographer Bill T. Jones. The original Broadway production won 8 Tony Awards, including Tonys for Best Musical, Direction, Book, Score and Featured Actor. The production also garnered 4 Drama Desk Awards whilst its original cast album received a Grammy Award. In addition, the show was revived in 2015 on Broadway and garnered 3 Tony Award nominations, among other honors.

The success of the Broadway production has spawned several other productions worldwide, including various US productions, a short West End production that won 4 Laurence Olivier Awards including Best Musical, and a series of international productions.


Act I[edit]

Wendla Bergmann, an adolescent in late-nineteenth-century Germany, laments that her mother gave her “no way to handle things” and has not taught her the lessons she is meant to know as a young woman (“Mama Who Bore Me”). She tells her mother that it is time she learned where babies come from, considering that she is about to be an aunt for the second time. Her mother cannot bring herself to explain the facts about conception clearly to Wendla, despite knowing her daughter is reaching puberty. Instead, she simply tells Wendla that to conceive a child a woman must love her husband with all of her heart. The other young girls in town – Martha, Thea, Anna and Ilse – appear to be similarly naïve and are upset about the lack of knowledge presented to them ("Mama Who Bore Me" (Reprise)).

At school, some teenage boys are studying Virgil in Latin class. When Moritz Stiefel, a very nervous and anxious young man, sleepily misquotes a line, the teacher chastises him harshly. Moritz’s classmate, the rebellious and highly intelligent Melchior Gabor, tries to defend him, but the teacher will have none of it, and hits Melchior with a stick. Melchior reflects on the shallow narrow-mindedness of school and society and expresses his intent to change things ("All That’s Known").

Moritz describes a dream that has been keeping him up at night, and Melchior realizes that Moritz has been having erotic dreams which Moritz believes are signs of insanity. To comfort the panicked Moritz, Melchior, who has learned sexual information from books, tells Moritz that all of the boys at their age get these dreams. Moritz, Melchior and the other boys – Ernst, Hänschen, Otto and Georg – share their own sexually frustrated thoughts and desires ("The Bitch of Living"). Moritz, who is not comfortable talking about the subject with Melchior, requests that he give him the information in the form of an essay, complete with illustrations.

All the girls, save Ilse, are gathered together after school and tease each other as they fantasize about marrying the boys in the town. Martha admits that she has a crush on Moritz, but is made fun of by the other girls. At the top of the list is the radical, intelligent, and good-looking Melchior ("My Junk"). Moritz has eagerly digested the essay that Melchior prepared for him, but complains that his new knowledge has only made his dreams even more vivid and torturous. Melchior tries to calm and comfort his friend, but Moritz runs off in frustration. All of the boys and girls express their desires for physical intimacy ("Touch Me").

"The Word of Your Body" from Carnegie Mellon University's 2013 production of Spring Awakening

Searching for flowers for her mother, Wendla stumbles upon Melchior. The two reminisce on the friendship they once shared as children and share a moment while sitting together in front of a tree. Each of them considers what it would be like to give in to their physical desires for one another ("The Word of Your Body"), but they do not do so. Meanwhile, at school, Moritz sneaks a look at his test results and is thrilled to learn that he has passed his midterm examinations, and tells the other boys. They are ecstatic, save the skeptical Hänschen. However, the teacher and schoolmaster, who claim they cannot pass everyone, decide to fail Moritz anyway, deeming his passing grade still not up to the school's lofty standards.

Martha accidentally admits to her friends that her father abuses her physically (including sexual abuse) and that her mother is either oblivious or uncaring. The other girls are horrified to hear this, but Martha makes them promise not to tell anyone, lest she end up like Ilse, a friend from childhood who now wanders homeless and aimless after her similarly abusive parents kicked her out of the house ("The Dark I Know Well"). Later, Wendla finds Melchior again at his spot in the woods and tells him about Martha's abuse. Melchior is appalled to hear this, but Wendla convinces him to hit her with a switch, so that she can try to understand Martha’s pain. At first Melchior is determined to do nothing of the sort, but reluctantly complies. He gets carried away in the beating, taking his own frustrations out on Wendla and throws her to the ground. Disgusted with himself, Melchior runs off as Wendla is left lying on the ground, weeping. Alone, Wendla finds that Melchior has left his journal on the ground. She picks it up and takes it with her.

Moritz is told he has failed his final examination, and his father reacts with disdain and contempt when Moritz tells him that he will not progress in school. Rather than attempting to understand his son's pain, Moritz's father is only concerned with how the others in town will react when they see "the man with the son who failed." Moritz writes to Melchior’s mother, his only adult friend, asking for money to help him flee to America; she tenderly but firmly denies his request and promises to write his parents to discourage them from being too hard on him ("And Then There Were None"). Devastated by her refusal, and feeling he has few choices left, Moritz contemplates suicide.

In a stuffy hayloft during a storm, Melchior expresses his frustration about being caught between childhood and adulthood (“The Mirror-Blue Night”). Wendla finds him once again, telling him she wants to return his journal, and each apologizes for what happened in the forest. Before long, they begin to kiss. Wendla resists his advances at first–she doesn't really understand what's going on between them and is reluctant to partake–sensing that what they are doing is something very powerful, unlike anything that she has known before. As Melchior becomes more insistent, he overpowers her objections with a combination of affection and sheer force. They continue, and they have sex in the hayloft ("I Believe"). At the very moment Melchior commits the act, Wendla cries out against it, and the darkness falls. (Note: This scene was slightly softened from the show's Off-Broadway run, when the act as a rape without Wendla's consent was more straightforward. Later, as staged by the Broadway show, Wendla still objects to Melchior, but gives in without understanding what he is actually trying to do, leaving the question of consent still ambiguous on many levels.)[1]

Act II[edit]

Wendla and Melchior are finishing their moment of confused intimacy in the hayloft; they reflect on and discuss what has just happened (“The Guilty Ones.” In the Off-Broadway production, Act II began with "There Once Was A Pirate.")

Moritz, having been thrown out of his home, wanders the town at dusk, carrying a pistol when he comes across Ilse, a childhood friend of his. Ilse, whom it is implied has feelings for Moritz, tells him she has found refuge at an artists' colony, and they reminisce in some childhood memories and "remarkable times". She invites him to come home with her and join her in sharing some more childhood memories, and maybe something more. Moritz refuses and Ilse does everything she can to change his mind ("Don't Do Sadness/Blue Wind"). After affirming to Ilse that he truly wished he could go with her, Moritz refuses and Ilse leaves – distraught and upset. Realizing that Ilse was his last chance to escape the fate he's set out for himself, Moritz quickly changes his mind and calls after her, but it is too late – she is gone. Alone and believing that he has nowhere to turn, Moritz shoots himself.

"Don't Do Sadness" from Carnegie Mellon University's 2013 production of Spring Awakening

At Moritz's funeral, each of the children drops a flower into his grave as Melchior laments the passing of his friend while touching on the factors that led to his death, including Moritz's treatment by his parents ("Left Behind"). Back at school, the schoolmaster and teacher feel the need to call attention away from Moritz, whose death was a direct result of their actions. They search through Moritz's belongings and find the essay on sex which Melchior wrote for him. They seize the opportunity to lay the blame of Moritz's death on Melchior, and although Melchior knows that he is not to blame, he knows there is nothing he can do to fight them and is expelled as a result ("Totally Fucked").

Elsewhere that night, Hänschen meets up with his shy and delicate classmate Ernst. Ernst tells Hänschen about his plans to become a pastor after school, and Hänschen shares his pragmatic outlook on life. He is amazed with how Ernst has remained so innocent despite the horrible things happening around them. Ernst reveals that he loves Hänschen. They kiss. ("The Word of Your Body (Reprise)").

Wendla has become ill, and her mother takes her to visit a doctor. He gives her some medication and assures them both that Wendla is suffering from anemia and will be fine, but takes Wendla's mother aside and tells her that Wendla is pregnant. When her mother confronts her with this information, Wendla is completely shocked, not understanding how it could have happened. She realizes that her mother lied to her about how babies are made. Although she berates her mother for leaving her ignorant, her mother rejects the guilt and insists Wendla tell her who the child's father is. Wendla reluctantly surrenders a passionate note Melchior sent her after they consummated their relationship. She reflects somberly on her current condition and the circumstances that precipitated it, but resolves with optimism about her future child ("Whispering"). Meanwhile, Melchior's parents argue about their son's fate; his mother does not believe that the essay he wrote for Moritz is sufficient reason to send him away to reform school. When Melchior's father (Callum) tells his wife about Wendla's pregnancy, she finally agrees that they must send Melchior away, which they do without telling him that Wendla is pregnant.

During this time, Melchior and Wendla keep contact through letters, delivered by Ilse. At the reform school, Melchior gets into a fight with some boys who grab a letter he has just received from Wendla and use it in a masturbation game. As one of the boys reads from the letter, Melchior finally learns about Wendla and their child, and he escapes from the institution to find her. When Melchior reaches town, he sends a message to Ilse, asking her to have Wendla to meet him at the cemetery at midnight. Ilse, however, can take no action as Melchior "hasn't heard" about Wendla, and shows Anna, Martha, and Thea the letter. They are equally horrified, and they decide not to tell Melchior what has happened. At the cemetery, Melchior stumbles across Moritz's grave and swears to himself that he and Wendla will raise their child in a compassionate and open environment. When Wendla is late to the meeting, Melchior begins to feel a little uneasy. Looking around, Melchior sees a grave he hadn't noticed before. He reads the name on the stone–Wendla's–and realizes that Wendla has died from anemia after a botched abortion. Overwhelmed by shock and grief, he takes out a razor with intent to kill himself. Moritz's and Wendla's spirits rise from their graves to offer him strength. They persuade him to journey on, and he resolves to live and to carry their memories with him forever ("Those You've Known").

Led by Ilse, everyone assembles onstage now (in some stagings, in modern dress) to sing about how although the adults may still call the shots with their upright, conservative views, they won't last forever, and the seeds are already being planted for a new, liberal minded, progressive generation ("The Song of Purple Summer").


The Children[edit]

  • Melchior Gabor: Headstrong, handsome, and charismatic. He knows much more than the others because of what he reads in books and is able to see the corruption in society. He very well could have become the top of his class, but instead opted to reject his school's hard regime and rebel against it.
  • Wendla Bergmann: A naive young girl who has limited knowledge about adult issues, causing her to have trouble understanding things such as sexual attraction, her friend Martha's abuse, and pregnancy. She tends to learn these things by experiencing them. She is a childhood friend of the boys, and is the best friend of Thea. She has a sexual relationship with Melchior.b
  • Moritz Stiefel: Intense and nervous. He has an overwhelming confusion relating to his sexual feelings for Melchior, which seems comedic at first, but quickly develops into a serious issue for him. He feels intense pressure from his parents and his peers to succeed.b
  • Ilse Neumann: Another childhood friend who runs away from an abusive home to live in an artists' colony. She is somewhat less connected to the main story as the other children, as she doesn't appear in multiple group numbers. Ilse is used almost symbolically in many scenes. To Martha, she is a warning of what may happen if she speaks out. To Moritz, she is hope, and a last chance for him.a
  • Hänschen Rilow: A humorous and almost arrogant classmate, Ernst's love interest. Like Melchior, he also appears to be very intelligent, but uses his knowledge in favor of the school system.
  • Martha Bessell: One of Wendla's friends who is abused by her father, and she keeps the worst of the abuse to herself. She has a crush on Moritz, and is chastised by the other girls for it. She is also implied to be what Ilse was like prior her escape to the artists' colony.ab
  • Ernst Röbel: A sweet and naive classmate. He is Hänschen's love interest.b
  • Georg Zirschnitz: Another classmate who lusts after his older, busty piano teacher.
  • Otto Lämmermeier: Another classmate who has a dream about his mother.b
  • Thea: A confrontational school girl and Wendla's best friend. She has a crush on Melchior.bc
  • Anna: An innocent school girl and Martha's best friend.
  • Greta Brandenburg: A girl who is engaged to a forest inspector. She has no lines but the other girls discuss her upcoming wedding and whether it is proper. She only appears in the 2015 Broadway revival.
  • Bobby Maler: A school boy who is admired by Hanschen in the showers at school. His only physical appearance is in the Deaf West production.
  • Melitta: A school girl and one of Wendla's friends. She is Thea's twin sister and she only appears in the 2015 Broadway revival.c

Boys in the Reformatory[edit]

  • Dieter: Usually played by the same actor as Georg.
  • Rupert: Usually played by the same actor as Hanschen.
  • Reinhold: Usually played by the same actor as Ernst.
  • Ulbert: Usually played by the same actor as Otto.

The Adults[edit]

Traditionally, the roles of all the adults are performed by one man and one woman. However, in the 2015 Broadway Revival and the 2017 National Tour, there are two pairs of adults: one hearing pair, and one deaf/HoH pair.

  • Frau Bergmann: Wendla's mother.
  • Fanny Gabor: Melchior's mother.
  • Frau Bessell: Martha's mother.
  • Fräulein Großebüstenhalter: Georg's piano teacher.
  • Fräulein Knuppeldick: an associate of Headmaster Knochenbruch.
  • Headmaster Knochenbruch: the boys' school headmaster.
  • Herr Sonnenstich: a schoolteacher.
  • Herr Gabor: Melchior's father.
  • Herr Stiefel: Moritz's father.
  • Herr Rilow: Hanschen's father
  • Herr Neumann: Ilse's Father.
  • Father Kaulbach: a priest.
  • Doctor von Brausepulver
  • Schmidt: the abortionist.

Musical numbers[edit]

Note: "The Guilty Ones" replaced off-Broadway version's Act II opening, "There Once Was a Pirate"; the latter is available as a bonus track sung by composer Duncan Sheik on the iTunes version of the original cast recording. A reprise of "Touch Me," sung by Melchior, appeared in "Whispering" during the Chicago, Vienna, London runs, was added to the tour, and is part of the amateur rental materials. On the cast recording cd, the order of "The Guilty Ones" and "Don't Do Sadness - Blue Wind" is switched.


The original casts of the major productions of Spring Awakening.

Character Original Broadway Cast[2] Original National Tour Cast Original London Cast[3] Second National Tour Cast Broadway Revival Cast[4] Third National Tour Cast[5]
Melchior Jonathan Groff Kyle Riabko Aneurin Barnard Christopher Wood Austin P. McKenzie TBA
Wendla Lea Michele Christy Altomare Charlotte Wakefield Elizabeth Judd Sandra Mae Frank
Katie Boeck (voice/guitar)a
Moritz John Gallagher, Jr. Blake Bashoff Iwan Rheon Coby Getzug Daniel N. Durant
Alex Boniello (voice/guitar)a
Ilse Lauren Pritchard Steffi DiDomenicantonio Lucy May Barker Courtney Markowitz Krysta Rodriguez TBA
Hänschen Jonathan B. Wright Andy Mientus Jamie Blackley Devon Stone Andy Mientus TBA
Martha Lilli Cooper Sarah Hunt Hayley Gallivan Aliya Bowles Treshelle Edmond
Kathryn Gallagher (voice/guitar)a
Ernst Gideon Glick Ben Moss Harry McEntire Daniel Plimpton Joshua Castille
Daniel David Stewart (voice/piano)a
Adult Men Stephen Spinella Henry Stram Richard Cordery Mark Poppleton Russell Harvard
Patrick Page
Adult Women Christine Estabrook Angela Reed Sian Thomas Sarah Kleeman Marlee Matlin
Camryn Manheim
Georg Skylar Astin Matt Shingledecker Jos Slovick Jim Hogan Alex Wyse TBA
Otto Brian Charles Johnson Anthony Lee Medina Edd Judge George Salazar Miles Barbee
Sean Grandillo (voice/bass)a
Anna Phoebe Strole Gabrielle Garza Natasha Barnes Rachel Geisler Ali Stroker TBA
Thea Remy Zaken Kimiko Glenn Evelyn Hoskins Emily Mest Amelia Hensley TBA
Melitta does not appear Lauren Luiz a b
Greta does not appear Alexandra Wintera b
  1. ^ The 2015 Broadway revival employs Deaf and Hard-of-hearing actors in certain roles and is paired with a hearing actor who voices them. Majority of the hearing actors are also part of the live onstage band as well.
  2. ^ The characters of Greta and Melitta only appear in the 2015 Broadway revival production. Melitta voices the character of Thea, while Greta is part of the female ensemble.
Notable Broadway replacements
Notable Broadway Swings
Notable Tour Replacements

Original concept[edit]

Before opening the show off-Broadway, Duncan Sheik had composed an arrangement of song demos for the original concept of Spring Awakening. Back then the musical's plot adhered more closely to the original play's plot. Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik had originally intended for Melchior actually to rape Wendla at the end of "I Believe," but decided to change that plot because he wanted the scene to be more loving between the two characters. In workshops, "I Believe" ended with Wendla's scream while being raped. "All That's Known" replaced a song titled "All Numb". Both songs had the same theme, but because the directors had to reduce time for the show, "All Numb" was cut and replaced with "All That's Known".

A song called "A Comet on Its Way" was replaced by "The Bitch of Living". Although both songs followed the same basic theme, Sheik thought that "The Bitch of Living", being more upbeat, fit the show better. "Those You've Known" replaced a song called "The Clouds Will Drift Away", which was cut because Sheik wanted the song between the three main characters to stay close to the "All That's Known" theme. "Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise)" was originally intended to be performed after "Touch Me". Another song, entitled "Great Sex" (which was intended to be performed after "Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise)"), was also cut from the show because the directors thought the song pointed out the theme of the show too specifically. It was intended to be performed during Hanschen's masturbation scene, but the song was removed and the scene moved into the middle of "My Junk".

Also, in an early workshop version of the show, the song "The Dark I Know Well" was intended to be sung by Thea for currently unknown reasons. It was then changed to be a duet between Martha and Ilse. Finally, songs such as "Touch Me" and "The Mirror-Blue Night" each had a reprise, and "Mama Who Bore Me" had a second reprise. Even "There Once Was a Pirate", which was cut, also had a reprise that was sung by the girls other than Wendla.

Production history[edit]

Spring Awakening had a number of workshops, concerts and rewrites over a seven-year period, including workshops at La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego, California, and the Roundabout Theatre Company, and a concert at Lincoln Center in February 2005, under the auspices of actor/producer Tom Hulce.[6] It premiered Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theatre Company on May 19, 2006 and ran through August 5, 2006.[7]


The musical opened on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on December 10, 2006[7] and closed on January 18, 2009, after 859 performances and 29 previews. Directed by Michael Mayer with choreography by Bill T. Jones, the costume designer is Susan Hilferty, set designer Christine Jones and lighting designer Kevin Adams.[8] It received nearly unanimous favorable reviews,[9][10] and easily recouped its initial $6 million capitalization, breaking even on August 27, 2007.[11]

Decca Broadway released the original cast recording on December 12, 2006, which won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album in 2008.[12] The guitar Sheik used to compose songs for Spring Awakening was included in the 2008 exhibition "Writing to Character: Songwriters & the Tony Awards" at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.[13]

United States tours[edit]

A U.S. national tour (with one stop in Toronto, Canada) opened on August 15, 2008 at The Balboa Theatre in San Diego, California. The national tour ended on May 23, 2010 in Orlando, Florida.[14] A non-equity US tour began at Shryock Auditorium on October 14, 2010 in Carbondale, Illinois.[15] The non-equity US tour ended its run on May 15, 2011 in Ottawa, Canada at the Centrepointe Theatre.[16]

Original London production[edit]

Spring Awakening at London's Novello Theatre, spring 2009

The London production began January 23, 2009 at the Lyric Hammersmith, transferred to the Novello Theatre on March 21, 2009, and closed on May 30, 2009.[17][18] The London production won four Laurence Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical.[19]

Subsequent productions[edit]


The European premiere took place on August 30, 2008, at Värmlandsoperan in Karlstad, Sweden. The production is directed by Per Eltvik and choreographed by Åsa Thegerström. The Swedish text is by Fredrik Fischer and Linnea Sjunnesson. It stars Joán Alderman (Melchior), Mari Haugen Smistad (Wendla) and Ole Aleksander Bang (Moritz). This production closed in March 2009.


The Finnish production opened in Helsinki on 5 February 2009 and closed in November 2009.[20] The first Hungarian-language (first non-replica) production premiered on February 7, 2009 in Budapest at the Nyugati Teátrum as a co-production of the Budapest Operetta and Musical Theatre and the Nyugati Teátrum, with the title Tavaszébredés. This production ran until May 26, 2009.[21] A new production opened on November 21, 2009 at the Budapest Operetta and Musical Theatre, with all the roles played by the students of the Pesti Broadway Stúdio, the acting school of the theatre. This is also a non-replica production but differs from the previous Hungarian version, and is staged as a modern school class performing the musical.[22]

International productions in 2009 included the second Swedish-language production, which opened in Helsingborg, Sweden on March 20, 2009.[23] The German-language premiere opened in Vienna, Austria in a limited run at the Ronacher Theatre on March 21, 2009, and closed on May 30, 2009.[24] A live cast recording was released. There was also Slovenian production in the Ljubljana City Theatre in 2009, directed by Sebastijan Horvat.[25]

An English-language production opened in Valletta, Malta at the St. James Cavalier Theatre on April 17, 2009, directed by Wesley Ellul, choreographed by Fiona Barthet and featured Davide Tucci's theatre debut. This was produced by the MADC and staged to rave reviews. The run was extended after it sold out.[26][27]

The Japanese-language production opened in Tokyo at the Shiki Theatre Jiyu May 2, 2009.[28] The Brazilian production in Rio de Janeiro ran with the title O Despertar da Primavera from August 21, 2009 to January 31, 2010. Transferred to São Paulo where ran from March 13, 2010 until May 2, 2010; re-opened on July 10 and closed on August 15. A cast recording was released in January.[29] The Philippine production opened in Manila in the Carlos P. Roumolo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, on September 25 until the October 17, 2009. It was performed in English and was directed by Chari Arespachochaga.[30] The Czech-language premiere opened in Brno, Czech Republic at the City Theatre Brno on November 21, 2009.[31] The South Korean production opened in Seoul in 2009.


In January 2010, the Norwegian production opened in Oslo.[32] Sydney Theatre Company staged the first Australian non-replica production, which opened on 4 February 2010 and closed on 7 March. Actress Cate Blanchett was the co-artistic director.[33] The Argentine production with the Spanish title Despertar de Primavera – Un Musical Diferente opened in Buenos Aires on March 19, 2010. This was the second production made in South America, after the Brazilian production. A Hebrew production opened in Tel Aviv, Israel in April 2010. The Scottish premiere involving students from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama took place during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on 4 August 2010, and closed on 30 August. The Irish premiere was performed at The Helix, Dublin in September 2010, produced by NYMT[34] (National Youth Musical Theatre) Ireland. The English Theatre in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, being the largest English language theatre on the "continent", produced the musical in November 2010. Director was Ryan McBryde.[35] The South Australian premiere of Spring Awakening went on stage in December 2010, produced by Film and Theatre Company Gin & Vodka Productions and co-directed by Joshua Penley and Vince Fusco, with Musical Direction by Jonathan Bligh – performed at Adelaide University's Little Theatre.[36] The Serbian production opened in December 2010 at Belgrade Drama Theatre.


In Chicago, the first Chicago-produced version of the play opened at the Griffin Theatre, running from December 4 to January 8, 2011. It was directed by Jonathan Berry.[37]

The first south east production opened on July 7, 2011 produced by The Garage Theatre (now known as The Garage Productions), in Orlando, Florida under the direction of Adrienne Lovette, produced by Tim Hanes, and choreographed by Benjamin Smith.

The United States West Coast Premier was in Coronado, California, produced by Actors' Conservatory Theatre- San Diego, and was staged at the Coronado School of the Arts (aka CoSA). It was directed by Leigh Scarritt, choreographed by Tiffany Jane, and Musical Directed by Shane Simmons. It ran from August 5–14, 2011. Actors were Charlie Gange and Izzy Pollak as Melchior, Haley Doyle and Darienne Orlansky as Wendla, Derrick Gaffney as Moritz, Jordan Deleon and Taylor West as Martha, Megan Martin as Ilse, Michael Parrott as Georg, Apollo Blatchley as Otto, Seejay Lewis and Dylan Mulvaney as Ernst, and Peter Armado and Collin McCarthy as Hanschen.

In the Netherlands, the musical opened in March 2011 and closed on 3 April. It was a co-production between Joop van den Ende/Stage Entertainment and M-Lab. This production was directed by Paul Eenens and featured students of different conservatoires and musical academies from all over the Netherlands.

The Victorian premiere of Spring Awakening opened on January 27, 2011 at the National Theatre in Melbourne. It was produced by the Young Australian Broadway Chorus and directed by Robert Coates.

The first Australian touring production opened on March 30 and concluded performances in the Reginald Theatre at Sydney's Seymour Centre in April. It featured Stephen Madsen as Melchior and Sarah Blackstone as Wendla. The non-replica production was also the first in Australia to utilise the 'Whispering' duet arrangement as performed on London's West End.[38][39]

A Welsh language production toured Wales from the beginning of March 2011 visiting 8 different locations, with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru (Welsh National Theatre).[40]

The first UK national tour of Spring Awakening took place in May and June 2011, produced by Sell a Door Theatre Company, directed by Pete Gallagher and choreographed by Cressida Carre. The tour will visit Exeter Northcott Theatre, Pleasance Edinburgh, MacRoberts Arts Centre Stirling, Lowry Manchester, Norwich Playhouse & Greenwich Theatre, London.[41][42]


In February 2012 the Galway University Musical Society (GUMS) brought Spring Awakening to Galway for the first time in the Town Hall Theatre, under a production team made up entirely of students of the University. The show ran for 5 nights, received rave reviews, and was a storming success. Also in February 2012, the musical was performed at Bernhard-Riemann-Gymnasium in Scharnebeck,[43] being the last of more than ten productions directed by Mary Ellen Petersen.


On 23 February 2013 Spring Awakening was performed in New Zealand for the first time by Auckland Music Theatre Incorporated as part of the Auckland Fringe festival. On 13 June 2013 "Spring Awakening" was performed in Portugal for the first time in Casa da Criatividade. An Italian licensed version of Spring Awakening (with English lyrics mixed with an Italian libretto) is planned to start on October, staged by TodoModo MusicAll.[44]

In October 2013, Spring Awakening was staged for the first time in Montreal (Québec, Canada) by Persephone Productions at Calixa Lavallée theatre.[45] The next year, the show was brought to the Centaur Theatre as their Brave New Looks production.[46]

In October 2013, the musical was shown in Russian theatre Gogol-center. The Russian version was directed by Kirill Serebrennikov, translated by Zhenya Berkovich and performed by the "7th Studio" during season 2013-2014. It was highly appreciated by critics due to its unusual set and decorations, slightly updated musical arrangement and outstanding direction.

In late November 2013, "Spring Awakening" was staged in the UK by the University of Birmingham's Guild Musical Theatre Group. Director, Jacob Dorrell, completely reinterpreted the script, drawing inspiration from the artistic style of German Expressionism. This resulted in a dark and visually immersive production, emphasising the oppressed feelings of the children. The production ran for five nights and was met with great critical acclaim.[47][48]

Assembled Junk gave Spring Awakening its UK northern fringe debut at The Kings Arms Theatre, Greater Manchester, in April 2013. Director James Baker decided to set it in 1935, pre-World War 2 against the fascist uprising, with the intention to give the musical a backdrop audiences could recognize and relate too. It was Bakers feeling that Wedekind wrote a prediction and one that had greater resonance with a British audience and one that illuminated the central themes when set in 1935. The production was highly commended by critics and the production enjoyed triple 5 star success.


In June 2014, New Vision Theater in MA staged Spring Awakening for the first time as a diegetic musical, abandoning the inner monologue concept, integrating the music into the spoken book. This cast featured an equity cast of mostly authentic young actors, particularly ones of color. Under the direction of Shari Arawal, this fresh incarnation of Spring Awakening had an elaborate set and was built on the vivid theme of water. This production received mixed reviews, due to the new nature of the diegetic concept. There were contrasting reactions on the vivid new themes and the polished, "elaborate" attributes, though the unpolished, raw aspect of using mostly young actors and the diversity of the company was unanimously praised. After its three-month run, this production closed after 5 previews and 94 performances.

In September 2014, Deaf West Theatre premiered a production directed by Michael Arden. The concept was first brought to Arden by his fiancé, first National Tour cast-member Andy Mientus. The cast, made up of both deaf and hearing actors, performed the show in American Sign Language and English simultaneously.[49] Deaf West's production incorporated 19th-century-appropriate aspects of oralism in deaf education to complement the themes of miscommunication, lack of proper sex education, and denial of voice.[50] When the production transferred to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills in the Spring of 2015, Original Broadway cast swing Krysta Rodriguez and Andy Mientus joined the cast in the roles of Ilse and Hanschen.

2015 Broadway revival[edit]

Deaf West Theatre's production of Spring Awakening, directed by Michael Arden, opened in Los Angeles in the fall of 2014 at the Rosenthal Theater. The cast featured both hearing and non-hearing actors, and the show was presented synchronously in spoken English and American Sign Language. The production then transferred to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, where it ran from May 21, 2015 to June 14, 2015.

On July 1, 2015, it was announced that the Deaf West Theatre production of Spring Awakening would transfer to Broadway's Brooks Atkinson Theatre for a limited engagement in the fall of 2015. Produced by Ken Davenport, Hunter Arnold and Cody Lassen, it was Spring Awakening's first Broadway revival. The entire original cast of the Deaf West Theatre production transferred to Broadway, with the addition of Marlee Matlin, Camryn Manheim, Patrick Page, and Russell Harvard in the adult roles, and new swings Robert Ariza, Lizzy Cuesta, Van Hughes, and Ren.[51] The revival began previews on September 8, 2015 and opened on September 27, 2015. It closed on January 24, 2016.[29]

The production received unanimously positive reviews. In his review for The New York Times, Charles Isherwood called it "a first-rate production of a transporting musical."[52] The Associated Press called it "a sheer triumph," and New York Magazine called it "brilliant and beautiful."[53]

The revival of Spring Awakening focused heavily on making theater and Broadway accessible to people with disabilities. In addition to having deaf cast members, it featured the first Broadway performer to use a wheelchair, Ali Stroker.[54] Spring Awakening was also the first Broadway production to provide interpretation for deaf-blind theatergoers.[55]

On January 15, 2016, the producers of Spring Awakening, in association with The Broadway League, presented a symposium entitled "How to Make Broadway More Accessible," featuring members of the disability community and a keynote address from Timothy Shriver, chairman of Special Olympics.[56]


In 2016, Spring Awakening was performed by the National Youth Music Theatre at the Curve (theatre) in Leicester, England. This Production was directed by Nikolai Foster, musically directed and orchestrated by Dougal Irvine and choreographed by Lee Proud. Set and costume design was by Takis.

Amateur rights[edit]

Amateur performances of Spring Awakening are now being licensed.[57]

In other media[edit]

In the television series 90210, the first few episodes contain the school and some of the characters as they prepare, and eventually perform in Spring Awakening, though in reality the amateur production rights were not available at the time. Parts of some songs and scenes are performed through the episodes, such as "Mama Who Bore Me" and "The Bitch of Living". Annie and Ty played the principal roles.

In 2008 episodes of the Australian Soap Opera Home and Away, the play is on the syllabus at Summer Bay High for Year 12 students and causes some controversy.

Apple's Keynote presentation application (version 4 in 2007) uses the lyrics of "The Bitch of Living" on its icon.[58]

Major awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2007 Tony Award[59] Best Musical Won
Best Book of a Musical Steven Sater Won
Best Original Score Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Jonathan Groff Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical John Gallagher, Jr. Won
Best Direction of a Musical Michael Mayer Won
Best Choreography Bill T. Jones Won
Best Orchestrations Duncan Sheik Won
Best Scenic Design Christine Jones Nominated
Best Costume Design Susan Hilferty Nominated
Best Lighting Design Kevin Adams Won
Drama Desk Award[60] Outstanding Musical Won
Outstanding Book of a Musical Steven Sater Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical John Gallagher, Jr. Nominated
Jonathan Groff Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Lea Michele Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Michael Mayer Won
Outstanding Choreography Bill T. Jones Nominated
Outstanding Orchestrations Duncan Sheik Nominated
Outstanding Music Duncan Sheik Won
Outstanding Lyrics Steven Sater Won
Lucille Lortel Award[61] Outstanding Musical (tie with In the Heights) Won
Outstanding Director Michael Mayer Nominated
Outstanding Choreographer Bill T. Jones Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Susan Hilferty Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Kevin Adams Won
Outstanding Sound Design Brian Ronan Nominated
Drama League Award[62][63] Distinguished Production of a Musical Won
The Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing Michael Mayer Won
Distinguished Performance John Gallagher, Jr. Nominated
Jonathan Groff Nominated
Theatre World Award[64] Jonathan Groff Won
New York Drama Critics' Circle[65] Best Musical Won
Outer Critics Circle Award[66] Outstanding New Broadway Musical Won
Outstanding New Score Won
Outstanding Director of a Musical Michael Mayer Won
Obie Award[67] Music and Choreography Bill T. Jones Won
2008 Grammy Award[12] Best Musical Show Album Won

Original London production[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2010 Laurence Olivier Award Best New Musical Won
Best Actor in a Musical Aneurin Barnard Won
Best Actress in a Musical Charlotte Wakefield Nominated
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical Iwan Rheon Won
Best Theatre Choreographer Bill T. Jones Nominated
Best Lighting Design Kevin Adams Nominated
Best Sound Design Brian Ronan Won

2015 Broadway revival[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2015 Ovation Awards[68]
For the Los Angeles engagements
Best Production of a Musical (Intimate Theatre) Deaf West Theatre Won
Best Production of a Musical (Large Theatre) Wallis Annenberg Center Won
Best Acting Ensemble of a Musical Won
Best Choreography Spencer Liff Won
Best Music Direction Jared Stein Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Michael Arden Won
Best Lead Actor in a Musical Austin P. McKenzie Nominated
Best Lead Actress in a Musical Sandra Mae Frank Nominated
Best Featured Actor in a Musical Andy Mientus Nominated
Best Featured Actress in a Musical Krysta Rodriguez Nominated
Best Lighting Design (Intimate Theatre) Travis Hagenbuch Nominated
Best Lighting Design (Large Theatre) Ben Stanton Won
Best Scenic Design (Large Theatre) Dane Laffrey Nominated
Best Sound Design (Intimate Theatre) Philip Allen Nominated
Best Video/Production Design Lucy Mackinnon Nominated
2016 Tony Awards[69] Best Revival of a Musical Nominated
Best Director of a Musical Michael Arden Nominated
Best Lighting Design of a Musical Ben Stanton Nominated
Drama Desk Awards[70] Outstanding Revival of a Musical Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Michael Arden Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Spencer Liff Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Ben Stanton Nominated
Drama League Award[71] Outstanding Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Nominated
Unique Contribution to the Theatre Award Deaf West Theatre Won
Theatre World Awards[72] Daniel Durant Won
Austin P. McKenzie Won
Outer Critics Circle Award[73][74] Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Broadway or off-Broadway) Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Michael Arden Won
Outstanding Choreography Spencer Liff Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical) Ben Stanton Nominated
Outstanding Projection Design (Play or Musical) Lucy Mackinnon Nominated
Fred and Adele Astaire Awards[75] Best Female Dancer Sandra Mae Frank Nominated
Best Choreographer Spencer Liff Nominated

Proposed film adaptations[edit]

In 2010, lyricist-librettist Steven Sater told Playbill.com that a film version of Spring Awakening could begin production in Europe in the Spring of 2013.[76] In 2012, Duncan Shiek told Broadwayworld.com that the movie was in development, but not everything was in place yet. In March 2014, it was announced that a producer and director, with Playtone as the production company, was chosen and the movie will include a new song.[77]


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External links[edit]