(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- Vanguard Theater presents Spring Awakening from June 22 to July 16, 2023. This hit musical features music by Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Steven Sater. An electric, vibrant celebration of youth and rebellion, censorship and its consequences, Spring Awakening fuses issues of morality, sexuality, and rock and roll into a story that packs a powerful emotional punch.
“This play shows what can happen if you withhold information from young people as they wrestle with adult issues,” says Janeece Freeman Clark, Director and Vanguard’s Founding Artistic Director.
Set to a Grammy-award-winning alternative rock score, the musical’s story (originally written in 1891 and then turned into the Tony Award winning 2006 musical) evokes the recent book bans across the US, new laws against teaching about sexual orientation, barring medical care from trans people, and a woman’s right to choose. “This show’s relevance speaks to us just as much today as it did when it opened nearly 20 years ago, and as it did in 1891 when its source material (a play of the same title by Frank Wedekind) was written and subsequently banned.” says Freeman-Clark. “It’s wild to see how little has changed.”
Talk-backs after the play on select dates will give audience and cast members a chance to discuss the musicals’ themes of sexual repression and abuse, suicide, abortion, book banning, and the psychological impact of academic pressure.
“When casting a show, I look for ways to connect our world and community issues to the topics explored in the piece,’ says Freeman-Clark.” “The use of color-conscious casting in “Spring Awakening” fulfills our mission of giving voice and advocacy to a wider range of identities. Though many of the themes might seem universal - how the characters might experience them differs based on their lived history.
Actors of color, Shania Mundy, Benji Santiago, and Timothy Thompson, play the leading roles of Wendla, Melchior, and Moritz, respectively, as well as many of the featured roles. These choices allow more people to see themselves in these stories, and bring a closer connection between the action of the play and current social issues.
Selections from “Spring Awakening” are scheduled to appear on the main stage during the Pride Festival in Montclair on June 10th.
The production runs Thursdays through Sundays (with two shows on Sundays) from June 22 to July 16. Tickets are $35 and up, including fees. Tickets are available for purchase online or by emailing the Vanguard Theater box office at firstname.lastname@example.org Individual tickets, memberships, and subscriptions are available.
The production is recommended for ages 12 and over (themes include suicide, abortion and sexual awakening).
Vanguard Theater is located at 180 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, New Jersey.
A portion of proceeds from Spring Awakening will be donated to Planned Parenthood and Everytown for Gun Safety.