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'Spring Awakening'

Northwestern stages Tony Award-winning coming-of-age musical Feb. 10 to 26

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February 9, 2012 | by Judy Moore
With book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik, “Spring Awakening” will be staged at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Theatre audiences tired of the gloomy days of winter are in for a three-week respite when the hit Broadway musical “Spring Awakening” -- winner of eight Tony awards -- opens on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.

The celebration of youth and self-discovery will be presented by the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University from Feb. 10 to 26. With book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik, “Spring Awakening” will be staged at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. There will be an additional performance at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 and a special student matinee performance at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24. Post-show discussions with the artists will follow the Friday, Feb. 10 opening night, Sunday, Feb. 12 matinee and Thursday, Feb. 23 performances.

Based on an 1891 play by German playwright Frank Wedekind and directed by Northwestern alumnus and faculty member Geoff Button, “Spring Awakening” follows a group of 19th-century German adolescents as they grapple with sexuality, morality and rebellion in a world of unresponsive adults.

TIC recommends parental supervision for those aged 18 and younger due to the musical’s adult situations and provocative subject matter, including issues of teen pregnancy, abortion and homosexuality.

However, Button also feels that the honest portrayal of the show’s mature content could be empowering and important for younger audiences to experience. “It’s all too easy, at that age, to keep your pain to yourself, but this musical is saying that concealment leads to tragedy,” said Button. “An emotionally mature 15- or 16-year-old could get a lot out of the show.”

With music direction by award-winning Northwestern staff member and School of Communication music director Ryan T. Nelson, “Spring Awakening” features a 17-member cast and an eight-piece live orchestra of Northwestern undergraduate students. Northwestern third-year Master of Fine Art design students and Chicago professionals also are part of the creative team. The production runs two-hours plus a 15-minute intermission.

The production is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Single tickets are $10 to $25; tickets for groups of eight or more are $8 to $22 each; $5 tickets are available exclusively to Northwestern students with valid IDs on advance ticket purchases only. Tickets are available through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or www.tic.northwestern.edu.