Theatre UAB presents Tony Award-winning play “Spring Awakening” from April 13-17

The musical explores sexuality, adolescent suicide, physical and sexual abuse, and homosexuality by interspersing formal dialogue with folk, pop and rock music that reveals the inner thoughts and desires of the young characters.

spring awakening 2016Musical theater students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are exploring a story of teenagers discovering the inner and outer tumults of sexuality in the controversial Tony Award-winning play “Spring Awakening.”

Theatre UAB, the performance company of the College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Theatre, will present “Spring Awakening” from April 13-17. The production includes music by Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Steven Sater and is directed by Head of Musical Theatre Valerie Accetta, MFA, with musical direction by Carolyn Violi.

While the musical “Spring Awakening” is based on a German play of the same name by Frank Wedekind originally published in 1891, its themes and subject matter are current. The musical explores sexuality, adolescent suicide, physical and sexual abuse, and homosexuality by interspersing formal dialogue with folk, pop and rock music that reveals the inner thoughts and desires of the young characters. Faced with repression and an often-unjust class of adults, these teenagers attempt to walk the difficult road to emotional and physical maturity as best they can. This play contains strong adult language and themes and explicit sexual content.

Theatre UAB presents “Spring Awakening” at 7:30 p.m. nightly April 13-16, with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, April 17, in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, Sirote Theatre, 1200 10th Ave. South. This play is intended for mature audiences only. Tickets are $12 and $15, student tickets are $6, and UAB employee and senior citizen tickets are $10. Call 205-934-3236 or visit the department online at www.uab.edu/cas/theatre.

The musical “Spring Awakening,” with music by Sheik and book and lyrics by Sater, was first presented on Broadway in 2006, Accetta says.

“I was incredibly fortunate to see the original Broadway cast, and I remember the excitement of seeing such a fresh and energetic new musical,” Accetta said. “‘Spring Awakening’ has grown even more popular over the last few years, culminating in a critically acclaimed Broadway revival this past fall by the LA-based company Deaf West, featuring both hearing and deaf actors.

Theatre UAB presents “Spring Awakening” at 7:30 p.m. nightly April 13-16, with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, April 17, in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, Sirote Theatre. South. This play is intended for mature audiences only. Tickets are $12 and $15, student tickets are $6, and UAB employee and senior citizen tickets are $10.

“For our production, I wanted to explore the idea of institutional oppression,” Accetta said. The young characters in the play certainly deal with educational and religious institutions, but they also cope with the expectations and ideals of the institution of family. Additionally, the theater itself is an institution with rules and structures that we work within and break down as the musical progresses.

The students in the UAB Department of Theatre have approached this production with bravery and pride in working on a play that truly resonates with them, she says.

“The themes, language and sexual situations are sensitive, and we believe that a safe educational environment is the best place to experience this type of material for the first time,” Accetta said. “The rehearsal process has been inspirational for me as I work with young actors who are so committed to bringing so much of themselves to the work and revealing the truth of the script. We are all looking forward to sharing this beautiful musical with the UAB community.”

The cast is Seth Burgess of Birmingham as Melchior; Mark A. Nelson of Fort Payne as Moritz; Russell Alexander of Selma as Hanschen; Ben Lundy of Fairhope as Ernst;

Royzell Walker of Cincinnati, Ohio, as Georg; Brian Wittenberg of Johns Creek, Georgia, as Otto; Joey Parker of Kansas City, Missouri, as Male Swing; Madelyn Burrell of Birmingham as Wendla; Alicia Batterson of Columbus, Ohio, as Ilse; Eboni Booker of Toney as Martha; Meredith Morse of Westerville, Ohio, as Thea; Nicole Slaski of Hartland, Wisconsin, as Anna; Addie Counts of Chattanooga, Tennessee, as Female Swing; Debbie Smith of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as Adult Female; and Professor of Theatre and Performance Dennis McLernon in all adult male roles.

The crew is stage manager Jessica Mathews of Hoover, and assistant stage managers are Irina Seale of Greenville and Rachel Walsh of Johns Creek, Georgia. UAB Costume Shop manager Sharon Morgan is designing the costumes for “Spring Awakening” as part of her University of Alabama MFA thesis project.

  • April 13
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