Spring Awakening is a Musical from 2006, based off a 19th Century German play of the same name (or Frühlings Erwachen, in German). The Play was banned in most countries for many years, dating up to the 70s, due to it's controversial messages.
Wendla Bergmann, an adolescent girl in late-19th century Germany, laments that her mother gave her "no way to handle things" and has not taught her the lessons she needs to learn ("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, but her mother cannot bring herself to explain the facts about conception clearly to Wendla. Instead, she simply tells Wendla that to conceive a child a woman must love her husband with all her heart. The other young girls in town appear to be similarly innocent 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 intense young man, sleepily misquotes a line, the teacher chastises him harshly. Moritz's classmate, the rebellious and 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 dreams of an erotic nature. To comfort the panicked Moritz, Melchior, who has learned sexual information from books, tells Moritz that all the boys their age get the dreams. The burned-out schoolboys tell about their own frustrating thoughts and desires ("The Bitch Of Living"). Moritz, who is not comfortable talking about the subject with Melchior, insists that he give him the information in the form of an essay, complete with illustrations.
Some girls are gathered together after school and tease each other as they fantasize about marrying the boys in the town. At the top of the list is the radical, intelligent, and good-looking Melchior. Meanwhile, Hanschen Rilow masturbates as he looks at an erotic postcard, and the piano student Georg Zirschnitz indulges in some lively fantasies about his well-endowed female piano teacher ("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 desire for physical intimacy ("Touch Me").
Wendla stumbles upon Melchior while walking through the woods. The two 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, but they do not do so ("The Word Of Your Body"). Meanwhile, at school, Moritz is thrilled to learn that he has passed his midterm examinations, but the teacher and schoolmaster can't pass everyone, so they decide to fail Moritz no matter what.
Martha Bessell, one of the teenage girls, 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 Neumann, a friend from childhood who is now homeless because her parents kicked her out of their house ("The Dark I Know Well"). Later, Wendla finds Melchior again at his spot in the woods and tells him that one of her friends regularly gets abused by her father. Melchior is appalled to hear this, but Wendla convinces him to hit her with a switch, so that she can understand her friend's pain. Melchior reluctantly complies but gets carried away and throws her to the ground. He then runs off, disgusted with himself. Alone, Wendla finds that Melchior has left his journal on the ground. She picks it up and takes it with her.
Moritz has failed his final examination, and his father reacts with disdain and contempt when Moritz tells him that he will not progress in school. Moritz writes to Melchior's mother, his only adult friend, for money to flee to America; she tenderly but firmly denies his request but promises to write his parents to discourage them from being too hard on him ("And Then There Were None").
In a stuffy hayloft during a storm, Melchior considers his own frustration at 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 awkwardly apologizes for what happened the last time they met. Before long, they begin to kiss; Wendla resists his advances at first. Though she seems uncertain about how far she wants to take their physical relationship, they begin to have sex as the lights go down. ("I Believe").
Wendla and Melchior are finishing their moment of intimacy in the hayloft; they reflect on and discuss what has just happened ("The Guilty Ones"). Moritz, having been thrown out of his home, wanders the town at dusk, carrying a pistol ("Don't Do Sadness"). He happens upon free-spirited Ilse, also homeless, who invites him to join her in sharing some old childhood memories, and perhaps something more, but Moritz refuses ("Blue Wind"). After she has left, he calls after her, but it is too late; she is gone. Regretting his lost opportunity to follow Ilse, and believing that he has nowhere to turn, Moritz shoots and kills himself.
At Moritz's funeral, each of his friends drops a flower into his grave, and Melchior chastises Moritz's father for being so cruel to his friend, as the other students look at Moritz's father with disgust for pushing Moritz too hard when he was alive ("Left Behind"). Back at school, the schoolmaster and teacher inform Melchior that Moritz's parents found the sex essay he had written for him. They lay the blame on Melchior for his friend's suicide, and although Melchior knows that he is not to blame, he knows there is nothing he can do to fight them, and he is expelled ("Totally Fucked"). Elsewhere that night, Hanschen meets up with his shy and delicate classmate Ernst Robel. In a comedy-relief scene, Hanschen shares his pragmatic outlook on life with his classmate before seducing him. It is Ernst's first sexual experience, and he tells Hanschen that he loves him as the two share a passionate 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 he 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 this could have happened. She realizes that her mother lied to her about how babies are made. Though she berates her mother for leaving her ignorant, her mother rejects the guilt and insists Wendla tell her who the father is. Wendla reluctantly surrenders a passionate note Melchior sent her after they consummated their relationship. Wendla reflects somberly on her current condition and the circumstances that led her to this difficult position but ends 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 tells his wife about Wendla's pregnancy, however, she agrees that they must send Melchior away, which they do without telling him that Wendla is pregnant.
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. He does not know that Wendla's mother has already taken her to an underground practitioner to have an abortion. When Melchior reaches town, he sends a message to Wendla's friends to have her meet him at the cemetery at midnight. There, he stumbles across Moritz's grave, and swears to himself that he and Wendla will raise their child in a compassionate and open environment. Spotting her freshly dug grave, Melchior discovers that Wendla has died from her abortion. Overcome with grief, he takes out a razor with the intention of killing himself. Moritz's and Wendla's spirits rise from their graves to offer him their 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 to sing "The Song of Purple Summer" about life and hope.
- "Mama Who Bore Me" - Wendla
- "Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise)" - Wendla & Girls
- "All That's Known" - Melchior
- "The Bitch of Living" - Moritz, Melchior & Boys
- "My Junk" - Girls & Boys
- "Touch Me" - Boys & Girls
- "The Word of Your Body" - Wendla & Melchior
- "The Dark I Know Well" - Martha, Ilse & Boys
- "And Then There Were None" - Moritz & Boys
- "The Mirror-Blue Night" - Melchior & Boys
- "I Believe" - Boys & Girls
- ++"There Once Was a Pirate"/"The Guilty Ones" - Wendla, Melchior, Boys & Girls
- "Don't Do Sadness" - Moritz
- "Blue Wind" - Ilse
- "Don't Do Sadness/Blue Wind" - Moritz & Ilse
- "Left Behind" - Melchior, Boys & Girls
- "Totally Fucked" - Melchior & Full Company (except Moritz)
- "The Word of Your Body (Reprise)" - Hanschen, Ernst, Boys & Girls
- "Whispering" - Wendla
- "Those You've Known" - Moritz, Wendla & Melchior
- "The Song of Purple Summer" - Ilse & Full Company
++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 original cast recording.
A U.S. national tour (with one stop in Toronto, Canada) opened August 15, 2008 at The Balboa Theatre in San Diego, California. Tour dates had been announced through to August 2009.
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 London production began 23 January 2009 at the [yric Hammersmith and transfered to the Novello Theatre on March 21 2009.
As of Summer 2009, Spring Awakening had been translated into Swedish, Hungarian, Korean, Austrian German, Brazilian Portuguese, Finnish, and Japanese.
In January 2010, the Norwegian production opened in Oslo. Sydney Theatre Company staged the first Australian non-replica production, which opened on 4 February 2010 and closed on 7 March, later that year The South Australian premiere of Spring Awakening went on stage in December 2010. The Argentine production with the Spanish title Despertar de Primavera – Un Musical Diferenteopened 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. A Scottish and Irish premiere opened in 2010 as well.
2015 Broadway Revival, deaf west.
Amateur performances of Spring Awakening are now being licensed.
Awards and nominationsEdit
2007 Tony Awards
- Win/Best Musical
- Win/Best Book of a Musical (Steven Sater)
- Win/Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre (Music: Duncan Sheik; Lyrics: Steven Sater)
- Nomination/Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Jonathan Groff)
- Win/Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (John Gallagher Jr.)
- Win/Best Direction of a Musical (Michael Mayer)
- Win/Best Choreography (Bill T. Jones)
- Win/Best Orchestrations (Duncan Sheik)
- Nomination/Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Christine Jones)
- Nomination/Best Costume Design of a Musical (Susan Hilferty)
- Win/Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Kevin Adams)
Outer Critics Circle Awards (2007)
- Win/Outstanding New Broadway Musical
- Win/Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
- Win/Outstanding Director of a Musical (Michael Mayer)
New York Drama Critics Circle Award
- Win/Best Musical
2008 Grammy Awards
- Win/Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album
Drama Desk Awards (2007)
- Win/Outstanding Musical
- Nomination/Outstanding Actor in a Musical (John Gallagher Jr.)
- Nomination/Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Jonathan Groff)
- Nomination/Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Lea Michele)
- Win/Outstanding Director of a Musical (Michael Mayer )
- Nomination/Outstanding Choreography (Bill T. Jones)
- Win/Outstanding Music (Duncan Sheik)
- Win/Outstanding Lyrics (Steven Sater)
- Nomination/Outstanding Book of a Musical (Steven Sater)
- Nomination/Outstanding Orchestrations (Duncan Sheik)
Drama League Awards (2007)
- Win/Distinguished Production of a Musical
- Nomination/Distinguished Performance (John Gallagher Jr.)
- Nomination/Distinguished Performance (Jonathan Groff)
Lucille Lortel Awards
- Win/Outstanding Musical (tied with "In the Heights")
- Nomination/Outstanding Director (Michael Mayer)
- Nomination/Outstanding Choreographer (Bill T. Jones)
- Nomination/Outstanding Costume Design (Susan Hilferty)
- Win/Outstanding Lighting Design (Kevin Adams)
- Nomination/Outstanding Sound Design (Brian Ronan)
Laurence Olivier Award
- Win/Best New Musical
- Win/Best Actor in a Musical (Aneurin Barnard)
- Nominated/Best Actress in a Musical (Charlotte Wakefield)
- Win/Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Iwan Rheon)
- Nominated/Best Theatre Choreographer (Bill T. Jones)
- Nominated/Best Lighting Design (Kevin Adams)
- Win/Best Sound Design (Brian Ronan)
- Win/Best Production of a Musical (Intimate Theatre)
- Win/Best Production of a Musical (Large Theatre)
- Win/Best Acting Ensemble of a Musical
- Win/Best Choreography (Spencer Liff)
- Nominated/Best Music Director (Jared Stein)
- Win/Best Director of a Musical (Michael Arden)
- Nominated/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)
- Win/Best Light Design (Large Theatre) (Ben Stanton)
- Nominated/Best Scenic Design (Large Theatre) (Dane Laffrey)
- Nominated/Best Sound Design (Intimate Theatre) (Philip Allen)
- Nominated/Best Video/Production Design (Lucy Mackinnon)
2016 Tony Awards
- Nominated/Best Revival of a Musical
- Nominated/Best Director of a Musical (Michael Arden)
- Nominated/Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Ben Stanton)
Drama Desk Awards(2016)
- Nominated/Outstanding Revival of a Musical
- Nominated/Outstanding Director of a Musical (Michael Arden)
- Nominated/Outstanding Choreography (Spencer Liff)
- Nominated/Outstanding Lighting Design (Ben Stanton)
Drama League Awards (2016)
- Nominated/Outstanding Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical
- Win/Unique Contribution to the Theatre Award
Theatre World Award
- Win (Daniel Durant)
- Win (Austin P. McKenzie)
Outer Critics Circle Award (2016)
- Nominated/Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Broadway or off-Broadway)
- Win/Outstanding Director of a Musical (Michael Arden)
- Nominated/Outstanding Choreography (Spencer Liff)
- Nominated/Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical) (Ben Stanton)
- Nominated/Outstanding Projection Design (Play or Musical) (Lucy Mackinnon)
Fred and Adele Astaire Awards
- Nominated/Best Female Dancer (Sandra Mae Frank)
- Nominated/Best Choreographer (Spencer Liff)
- Official Site of the Broadway production.
- Official Site of the London production.
- Official Site of the Malta production.
- Official Site of the cancelt German production.
- Playbill article about the show moving to Broadway.
- Atlantic Theater Company website with information about the off-Broadway production.
- Opening Night: Spring Awakening at Broadway.com
- On the Scene: Behind the Scenes: Backstage at Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff at Broadway.com
- Spring Awakening announces National tour and international productions