SPRING AWAKENING Begins Tonight at Randolph Theatre
With its contemporary folk score and soulful coming-of-age story, Spring Awakening literally rocked Broadway when it premiered nine years ago and redefined rock musicals with its provocative exploration of the journey from adolescence to adulthood. The show has been making headlines lately with the just announced return to Broadway this fall for its first-ever revival in a ground-breaking production from Deaf West Theatre. But this July, Toronto's Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts will offer its own twist on the iconic musical, under the direction of Anne-Marie Donovan and music direction of Lily Ling (music director, John and Jen, Off-Broadway Revival). Spring Awakening runs tonight, July 30 - August 8, 2015 at the Randolph Theatre, 736 Bathurst Street, Toronto.
In this landmark Tony Award-winning musical, a group of teenagers make their way through a tumultuous journey from youth to adulthood. Set in late-nineteenth century Germany, this coming-of-age drama celebrates rebellion with an electrifying fusion of morality, sexuality and rock & roll.
"I really love the music, and the piece's subtlety and lack of theatrical convention," says director Anne-Marie Donovan, "Spring Awakening circumvents traditional Broadway musical storytelling with an immediacy and intimacy that is quite subversive in relation to the form itself, like its subject matter."
Unlike the original Broadway production, which featured a small ensemble cast, the Randolph Academy's version features a cast of 26 people on stage at any given time. Says Donovan, "Despite this, we have challenged ourselves to make the project more, rather than less intimate as a result. One of the key ways we have found to achieve that 'amplified intimacy' is ensuring that each performer is equally implicated in the storytelling in their own unique way. That has led to many discoveries--hidden treasure troves embedded inside the piece."
She continues, "We are not beholden to the market that is Broadway, which affords us a certain kind of freedom to explore the musical in new ways. I would say we have expressed the more subversive underbelly of Spring Awakening. Also, I was not interested to tell a story where the female characters have less agency than the men, which can easily happen with this piece. This is something we wrestled with that unearthed new dynamics within the story."
The Randolph Academy casts features students in their final year of professional training in the Randolph Academy's Triple Threat college program.