After its extended premiere season at west London’s Lyric Hammersmith, Tony Award-winning alt-rock musical Spring Awakening transferred to the Novello Theatre last Thursday (26 March 2009, previews from 21 March), injecting a new brand of youth theatre cool into the West End (See 1st Night Photos, 27 Mar 2009).

Spring Awakening, which has music by Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Steven Sater, is based on the Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play of the same name about sexual discovery. Set in 19th-century Germany, the story centres on brilliant student Melchior, his troubled friend Moritz and Wendla, a beautiful girl on the verge of womanhood.

It features a young cast of relative unknowns, many of whom are making their professional stage debuts, led by Charlotte Wakefield (as Wendla), Iwan Rheon (Moritz), Aneurin Barnard (Melchior) and Lucy Barker (Ilse). Also in the cast, playing the various adult roles, are Sian Thomas and Richard Cordery.

Spring Awakening premiered at New York’s Atlantic Theater Company in May 2006 and transferred that December to Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre. The Broadway production won eight trophies, including Best Musical, at last year’s Tony Awards (See News, 11 Jun 2007). It's directed by Michael Mayer and choreographed by Bill T Jones, and is currently booking at the Novello until 31 October 2009.

- by Terri Paddock