Spring Awakening in Hammersmith Pre-West End???Date: 24 April 2008
The transatlantic transfer of Tony Award-winning Broadway hit Spring Awakening may take a slightly indirect route to the West End (See The Goss, 12 Jun 2007). Rather than coming straight into town, we hear that the current plan is to have the UK premiere in early 2009 Off-West End at the Lyric Hammersmith where younger UK audiences can “discover” it first for themselves.
The tactic is unusual for a few reasons. While it’s a tried-and-tested one for West End plays, Broadway musical imports ordinarily come straight in. Two years ago, Avenue Q - which, like Spring Awakening, started life small and Off-Broadway - toyed with a similar idea, of opening here first at east London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East, but, in the end, opted to go straight into the West End’s Noel Coward theatre, to save on set refits and other moving costs (See News, 27 Feb 2006).
It’s also unusual programming for the Lyric Hammersmith which isn’t known for musicals or, in recent years, for West End transfers. A theatre spokesperson was unable to deny the rumour, but told Whatsonstage.com that details of the Lyric’s new season would be announced in May.
Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's alt-rock musical is based on the Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play about sexual discovery amongst a group of young people. Premiered at New York’s Atlantic Theatre Company in May 2006, it transferred to Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre that December and won no fewer than eight trophies, including Best Musical, at last year’s Tony Awards (See News, 11 Jun 2007).
In addition to venues, we’re hearing all sorts of rumours about who’s in the running for the hormonal boys and girls in the UK premiere of Spring Awakening. Apparently, many of the stars of E4’s TV teen drama have been considered, but none have powerful enough singing voices.