Broadway hit comes to Newnan
“Spring Awakening,” opening July 25, speaks directly to today’s teens. This 2007 Tony Award-winning Broadway rock musical by Duncan Sheik and Steve Sater is based on a late 19th century play by Frank Wedekind. Very controversial in its time, Wedekind’s play depicted German parents extending childhood long past the time when nature dictated it was over.
They essentially abandoned their children to cope with awakening sexuality without knowledge or support of any kind.
NTC offers teens an opportunity to perform in shows they wouldn’t necessarily be able to do in school. “Spring Awakening” is both edgy and relevant. Everything negative that can happen just from not having knowledge happens to the characters in this show. The tragic situations and strong language are inappropriate for young children, but mature teens will understand and empathize.
“‘Spring Awakening’ speaks to their teen angst and wanting to be treated like adults,” said director Mandy Mitchell. “Everybody went through a rebellious period at this age. So the kids that are in the show get it. It’s what they’re living right now. We had to turn some kids away because so many auditioned. They all love this show. I feel that for every generation of theatre geeks there’s a show that they claim as their own – that they feel really speaks to them. They jam to the music in their cars. They love it intensely. ‘Spring Awakening’ has become a cult show in the way that ‘Rent’ was one in the 1990s.”
“Sheik and Sater have taken the Frank Wedekind story, made the language more accessible, and added very modern music,” continued Mitchell. “Our stage set is almost a playground. We’re removing the curtains from the stage. There will be a swing, monkey bars, and a push-type merry-go-round. The setting will emphasize the containment of the children in a child-like area even though they are of high school and college age.”
A dancer, singer, actor and director, Mandy Mitchell is one of the talented and dedicated volunteers that are the heart and soul of NTC. She has directed “Love’s Labours Lost” and “Rumors” and choreographed “Urinetown” and “Cinderella.” She played Laura Wingfield in “Glass Menagerie” and was one of the four players in “The Little Dog Laughed.”
“It’s great to be able to direct kids in high school and college because that’s where I was most heavily influenced,” she said. “This show really is an ensemble piece – no one character dominates. The adult parts are being played by children wearing masks. You learn about all their stories and what specifically they are dealing with.”
Bruce Patterson, who teaches music at Arnall Middle School, is the show’s music director. “He came in at the last minute and has been wonderful. He just sits down and hammers it out. It’s sounding great. He’s lucky because these kids have such musical ability,” said Mitchell.
Susan Babcock, the show’s talented choreographer, has recently moved to Newnan and works for the Georgia Academy of Dance. “She’s very creative and gets the creativity out of the kids,” said Mitchell. “She has shown them how to make the very modern signature moves from the Broadway production their own.”
“I’m excited about the show because it’s an opportunity for kids of this age to work with such amazing material,” said Mitchell. “It doesn’t always happen that everybody’s so passionate about doing something. They’re in it to win it.”
To purchase tickets, and for show dates and times, visit Newnan Theatre Company’s web site at http://www.newnantheatre.org or visit the box office before or after any performance. If you have questions regarding the content of any show, email Artistic Director Tony Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org.