Ilse Neumann ran away from home shortly before the events in 'Spring Awakening' took place. When Ilse was younger she spent most of her days playing Pirates with childhood friends, Wendla Bergmann, Melchior Gabor, and Moritz Stiefel. She lives in a colony of artists who are implied to sexually abuse her. On the surface she is the most liberated of the children as she is seemingly free of adult control. However, when examined further, it is clear she is mentally unstable and still being controlled by men in the artists colony who threaten and abuse her.
As a child, Ilse was abused by her father which leads up to her running away (possibly getting kicked out— it's presented as an unclear situation) before the events of the musical and play. Ilse took shelter in an artists' colony, becoming a model and lover for many of the painters. One kidnapped her, drugged her and threatened to murder her. When she ran away from him she was arrested and bailed out by the artists she usually lived with. On one of her rare visits home, she encountered her old friend Moritz, a reminder of the way things used to be. She offered to play the games they used to when they were younger (but with a strong sexual implication), but he refused. After running away, frustrated, she heard the gunshot. Ilse was the last person to speak to Moritz before he committed suicide and the first to discover his body. She finds the gun Moritz used and takes it. When at the funeral, Martha tells Ilse about the speculation over how it really happened, as the gun was never found, and Ilse then produces the gun to show her friend. When Martha begs for it Ilse simply says no. In the musical Melchior writes her a letter to give to Wendla. He then writes her one telling her to bring Wendla to him in the graveyard. She reads this letter to the girls who are dismayed as Wendla is already dead.
- Her vocal range is mezzo
- She may be Martha's sister according to some versions of the script but is not Martha's sister in the revival as Patrick Page plays the role of her father in the revival while Russel Harvard is implied (through staging in the Dark I Know Well) to be playing Martha's father.
- Her overt sexuality hides her pain and desire to be rescued
- There is debate that she may be dead but she is not dead in the revival as Krysta Rodriquez as confirmed as much
- In the revival she is highly implied to be high when she meets Moritz
- She has a romantic interest in Moritz and propositions him during their scene together
- She almost kisses Moritz in the revival
- In the revival she runs back in to find Moritz after he has shot himself and screams. She carries out the trunk that represents his body off the stage.
- Has experienced sexual and physical assault since running away to Priapia
- In the play, she and Martha return to Moritz's burial site and plant flowers so it will look nice
- She brings iris from her home and forget-me-nots from the brook to place on Moritz's grave.
- She is the one to find Moritz's gun after he commits suicide.