The University of Richmond department of theater and dance is presenting “Spring Awakening,” a musical set in late-19th century Germany about teenagers experiencing the tumult that accompanies adolescence.
Dorothy Holland, the director of the production, said audiences could expect to laugh, be moved emotionally and be shocked as they viewed the performance. The musical is a critique of a repressive society, Holland said, which provides a deeply thought-provoking element to the performance.
The cast is composed of 17 student-actors and the production team is made up of 55 students who design elements including lighting, makeup, stage design and props.
The cast and crew have been working on the production for eight weeks, Holland said.
Holland said the set design was one of her favorite components of the production, and that the Alice Jepson Theater would be presented in a way the campus community had never seen it before.
“Spring Awakening” has won eight Tony awards since its debut on Broadway in 2006. The play is an adaptation of an 1891 play by German playwright Frank Wedekind, Holland said.
In addition to the set design, Holland said the music was what she was most excited about in the performance. Despite the play being set in the 19th century, the music is contemporary, she said.
“The singers are absolutely phenomenal,” Holland said. “Thanks to the talent we have at UR, the music is just glorious.”
Junior Emily Brewster plays Ilse, a free-spirited child who lives in an artist colony, she said. Brewster said the student-actors had been able to really connect with their characters because the problems the characters encountered in the play were ones the actors had dealt with in their own lives.
“The music is new and high-energy and all the issues are ones we understand,” Brewster said. “Everyone in the performance is phenomenal … it’s a show about people our age for people our age.”
The play deals with adult matters, Holland said, and there is some strong language.
“[Spring Awakening] changed Broadway forever when it opened. It was a new kind of play that people had never seen before,” she said.
“Spring Awakening” debuts at the Alice Jepson Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18. There are shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $10 for Richmond students and can be purchased at the Modlin Center Box Office.
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