Theatre News

Spring Awakening Confirms Novello Transfer, 21 Mar

As previously tipped (See The Goss, 16 Feb 2009), the UK premiere production of the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit Spring Awakening will transfer directly to the West End’s Novello Theatre following its current six-week season at west London’s Lyric Hammersmith.

The alt-rock musical finishes at the Lyric on 14 March 2009 and reopens, with the original London cast, on 21 March at the Novello, where it’s initially booking through to 31 October. A new youth-access ticket scheme is being introduced for the transfer, making best available tickets available to 15- to 19-year-olds for only £20 (£15 for midweek matinees). Normal top-price seats will be £49.50. Booking opens this Sunday 22 February.

Based on Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play of the same name about teenage sexual discovery, Spring Awakening has music by Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Steven Sater. 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.

The UK premiere production is directed by Michael Mayer, choreographed by Bill T Jones – from the reunited New York creative team – and stars newcomers Charlotte Wakefield (as Wendla), Iwan Rheon (Moritz) and Aneurin Barnard (Melchior).

The rest of the cast of 16- to 24-year-olds, all but three of whom have made their professional debuts with the show, are: Lucy Barker, Natasha Barnes, Chris Barton, Jamie Blackley, Hayley Gallivan, Natalie Garner, Mona Goodwin, Evelyn Hoskins, Edd Judge, Harry McEntire, Jamie Muscato, Gemma O’Duffy, Jos Slovick and Richard Southgate. All of the adult roles are played by Sian Thomas and Richard Cordery.

Spring Awakening opened at New York’s Atlantic Theater Company in May 2006 and transferred that December to Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre, where it went on to won eight trophies, including Best Musical, at the 2007 Tony Awards (See News, 11 Jun 2007), and grossed over $50 million before closing last month. The UK production opened to critical acclaim at the Lyric Hammersmith on 3 February 2009 (previews from 23 January), while 18 further foreign productions – as well as a US tour – are being planned.

Currently at the Novello Theatre, the Michelle Gomez-led The Taming of the Shrew, the final production in the Royal Shakespeare Company winter residency, completes its run on 7 March 2009.

– by Terri Paddock