Deaf West Theatre's Launches Kickstarter Campaign For SPRING AWAKENING

By: Aug. 02, 2014
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Deaf West Theatre and The Forest of Arden in Los Angeles have reimagined the Broadway musical Spring Awakening in a whole new way and are seeking backers for their Kickstarter campaign to make it happen.

Check out the promotional video featuring Jonathan Groff, Skylar Astin, and more below!

This bold, new version of the Tony Award winning musical will connect the separate worlds of both the hearing and deaf communities. Created by an extraordinary assemblage of talent including Michael Arden (noted Broadway performer, star of Deaf West's productions of Big River and Pippin, and star of TV's Anger Management), Spencer Liff (So You Think You Can Dance, Broadway's Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and the good folks from Deaf West Theatre (Broadway's Big River and The Mark Taper Forum's Pippin), this sensory version of the beloved rock musical is "sure to arouse and awaken the Los Angeles theater scene when it opens in September 2014."

This is the fifth musical from Deaf West Theatre. The Broadway cast of Big River won a Tony® for Excellence, and we continue to build on that tradition with shows such as Sleeping Beauty Wakes and Pippin.

Jonathan Groff (Glee, Looking, Frozen) and Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect, Ground Floor) are just two of the notable performers who got their start in the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening, and they're truly excited by our take on the material (see the above video).

Andy Mientus (Smash, Broadway's new Les Miserables) another alumnus of the show, along with Michael Arden, Artistic Director of The Forest of Arden, developed the idea of a new SPRING AWAKENING using Deaf West's signature style to punctuate and deepen the musical's themes of communication and oppression. They brought their vision to Deaf West Theatre's Artistic Director, DJ Kurs and in the summer of 2013, workshopped the musical with an extraordinary group of actors. And what a head rush it turned out to be. The use of sign language and choreography performed by the young cast brought the songs to life in a completely new way. Emboldened by this experience, Deaf West knew it was something audiences had to see. Since then, Deaf West has embarked on a year-long quest to bring this to the stage. And now it's happening.

All of this is a massive undertaking. They have a large cast of 24 deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing actors and musicians. They have to source and rent all of the lighting, stage, and sound elements. This production also has more running expenses than the typical theatre troupe: ASL Masters, sign language interpreters, to name a few. These things add up quickly, and with such a large company, they would like fan help through their Kickstarter campaign to bring this to life.

SPRING AWAKENING is a rock musical with music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater. It is based on the controversial German play Spring Awakening (1891) by Frank Wedekind which was banned in Germany for some time due to its frank portrayal of abortion, homosexuality, rape, child abuse and suicide. Set in late-19th century Germany, the musical tells the story of teenagers discovering the inner and outer tumult of sexuality.

The original Broadway production won 8 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Direction, Book, Score and Choreography. The production also garnered 4 Drama Desk Awards whilst its original cast album received a Grammy Award. The success of the Broadway production has spawned several other productions worldwide including various US productions, a West End production that won 4 Laurence Olivier Awards including Best Musical, and a series of international productions.

DEAF WEST THEATRE was founded in 1991 to directly improve and enrich the cultural lives of deaf and hard of hearing individuals who live in the Los Angeles area. Deaf West Theatre consistently sets the standard of innovation for inclusive theatrical experiences of the highest quality for deaf and hearing audiences. Productions feature deaf and hearing actors working together to tell stories in a seamless ballet of movement, American Sign Language and spoken - or sung - English.

THE FOREST OF ARDEN is a collective of artists, designers, actors and writers who strive to create immersive, imaginative and provocative theatrical experiences in Los Angeles, California and beyond, with an emphasis on site-specific work. Their critically acclaimed production of La Ronde is currently being developed into a feature film.

MICHAEL ARDEN (Direction) is an actor, writer and director whose work has been seen on Broadway, the West End, in feature films and television as well as around the world in live concerts. Michael trained in Drama at the Juilliard School in New York City and is a Presidential Scholar in the Arts as well as a recipient of the Tony Honor for Excellence in Theater.


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