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Sheik's Spring Awakening Blooms at Atlantic Theater in '06

Spring Awakening, Duncan Sheik's and Steven Sater's musical based on the poetic and controversial 1891 Franz Wedekind play, will bloom at the Atlantic Theater (336 W. 20th St., between 8th and 9th Avenues) in spring of 2006.  The show will begin previews on May 10th and open on June 11th.
 
The pop-flavored musical tragedy, which has long been in gestation, is an adaptation of Wedekind's expressionistic work about "14-year-old lovers who experience parental disapproval, an abortion and death," as Variety describes it.  While the play was so shocking for the playwright's peers that it was not produced for 15 years until after its writing (and still managed to scandalize), rocker Sheik's musical has also had to wait for a full production.

Developed at the La Jolla Playhouse and at the Sundance Theatre in Utah, the show was to have been produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company (who gave it a 2001 workshop with Michael McElroy and Gavin Creel).  However, directly after 9/11, the not-for-profit theatre's finances were affected and they dropped both Spring Awakening and Assassins from their immediate production roster (the latter, of course, would become a Tony Award-winning revival at the Roundabout in 2004).  Other commercial producers were uninterested in the dark show until recently; a February '05 American Songbook concert at Lincoln Center that featured Kate Burton and Michael Cerveris was a success.

Spring Awakening, which features twelve major characters and jumps in time from 19th-century Germany to 21st-century America (and back again), will feature music by Sheik, a book and lyrics by Sater and direction by Michael Mayer ('night, Mother, Thoroughly Modern Millie).  The show will be the first musical to be presented by the Atlantic Theater, whose '05'-'06 season also includes Rolin Jones' The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (August 31st-October 16th), Harold Pinter's Celebration and The Room (November 16th-January 8th, 2006) and Martin McDonagh's
The Lieutenant of Inishmore (February 8th-April 9th).

Sheik (whose albums include Daylight and Humming) previously collaborated with Sater (Asylum, Carbondale Dreams) on a play-with-music entitled Umbrage; it played at the off-off-Broadway space here a few years ago.  Sheik's Phantom Moon album features his music set to Sater's lyrics.

For Atlantic Theater membership information, call (212) 645-1242 and for tickets, call (212) 239-6200.  For more information, visit www.atlantictheater.org.





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