Spring Awakening is a rock musical adaptation of Franck Wedekind's 1892 expressionist drama of the same name. Set in late 19th century Germany, it portrays a group of teens in an often repressive society, in which they find themselves often alienated from parents, teachers and other adult figures.
As they come into their sexuality (and even struggle to understand what is happening in the process), they express a hunger for truth, for passion, for understanding, for connection …. as well as feelings of frustration, loss, isolation and fear. Wedekind’s play was initially banned due to frank portrait of German youth and its treatment of sexuality. It was controversial also because it brought up such possibilities as child abuse, suicide and abortion. Over 100 years later, Sheik and Sater’s musical adaptation garnered eleven Tony nominations and eight awards (including best musical, book and score), during its 2007 Broadway premiere. The music and choreography helps bridge the gap between 1892 and 2012, with songs often serving to illuminate the characters’ inner thoughts and feelings.
International High School is pleased to take on this exciting material, not least because, although so much has changed since 1892, teens and adults still sometimes struggle to communicate and understand each other when faced with the many changes and challenges of adolescence. The play’s overarching theme of “spring” (literal and metaphorical) as a time of explosive transformation also invites us to think to other broader arenas in deep forces are shaking traditional institutions and sometimes rigid belief-systems.