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Spring Awakening Gets UK Debut in Hammersmith

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As previously tipped (See The Goss, 24 Apr 2008), the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit Spring Awakening will receive its UK premiere in the new year at west London’s Lyric Hammersmith ahead of a hoped-for West End transfer. At a press conference at the theatre today, artistic director David Farr confirmed that the musical will run there for six weeks from 3 to 28 February 2009 (previews from 23 January), care of the original New York creative team.

The alt-rock musical, 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.

Spring Awakening premiered 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 last year’s Tony Awards (See News, 11 Jun 2007). The musical is directed by Michael Mayer and choreographed by Bill T Jones.

David Farr, who invited Spring Awakening to the Lyric after seeing the show at the start of its New York run, commented today: “We at the Lyric are proud of our collaborative approach to making theatre and are celebrated for the modern and diverse audience that we reach with our work. The Spring Awakening team are ground-breaking artists and we’re thrilled to be working alongside them to bring this extraordinary work to the London stage. It is truly a musical for everyone.”

Though the Lyric is not traditionally known for the genre, Spring Awakening will mark the second major musical the venue within seven months. Love, a romantic musical created by Iceland’s Theatre Vesturport, starts performances next week, running from 28 May to 21 June, as the final production in the theatre’s spring/summer season (See News, 28 Dec 2007). Currently in the main house is David Farr’s 50th anniversary production of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party, which premiered at the theatre in May 1958.

- by Terri Paddock


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