Upper School students to perform alt-rock musical Spring Awakening

A group of 18 Upper School students will transport the audience to 19th-century Germany as they virtually perform the coming-of-age musical Spring Awakening.

The alt-rock musical, with music by Duncan Sheik and lyrics by Steven Sater, is based on the 1891 German play by Frank Wedekind that tells a story of sexual awakening, youth revolt, and self-discovery. The inner emotion of the characters is expressed through song, in a more contemporary style and feeling. The show won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical and has also achieved worldwide success.

The students and performing arts teachers Mark Silence, Stephanie Gregory, and Jenn Segovia have been preparing since December for two performances via Zoom: Friday, March 5 and Saturday March 6 at 7:00 p.m. Please be aware that this show is age-appropriate for Upper School students and adults and not suitable for younger students.

"Spring Awakening provides challenging artistic and learning experiences for our theater and music students. The show directly confronts the needs and issues facing young adults," Mr. Silence says. "The musical has both historical significance and contemporary relevance, and is the product of another culture." 

"It has not been a 'normal' process by any stretch of the imagination," said Mr. Silence, the show's director. Mr. Silence adds: "Acting and singing to a camera from a chair separated from the other actors by plexiglass is unique, but we had some practice with the Bridges production in the fall. This will be another rewarding experience." 

Abi Anderson '21 and Charlotte Alexander '21 agree that preparing for the musical has been a unique experience, fueled by perseverance and teamwork. "This year I learned that there are many different ways to put on a show, and that nothing can prevent creativity. Also, I think our show this year wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for all of us working together," reports Abi. 

Charlotte adds: "This entire show process has taught me so much, on and off the stage. I have learned there are solutions to every problem if you put your mind to it, even if it is difficult. I am definitely sad that my last show has to be like this, but I am so grateful that I get to perform at all this year thanks to the performing arts department's great strategies." 

The students have collaborated with Mr. Silence to adjust the script, libretto, and score so they can perform the concert and readings live while following the current health protocols. 

"I'm impressed by the students' creativity, maturity, and thoughtfulness in tackling the show's themes. They are successfully bringing to life the challenging and sometimes frightening aspects confronting adolescents," concludes Mr. Silence.