book and lyrics by STEVEN SATER
music by DUNCAN SHEIK
based on the play by FRANK WEDEKIND
directed by JP THIBODEAU
performed by emerging artists from SBT's
SPRING AWAKENING is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are supplied by MTI. www.mtishows.com
The videotaping or making of electronic or other audio and/or visual recordings of this production or distributing recordings on any medium, including the Internet, is strictly prohibited, a violation of the author’s rights and actionable under copyright law.
ONLINE PROGRAM SPRING AWAKENING
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ABOUT THE SHOW
CONTENT WARNING: Spring Awakening contains coarse language and material pertaining to sexual awakening, physical violence, sexual assault, domestic abuse, suicide, abortion, and depression.
Based on Frank Wedekind’s groundbreaking and controversial play (once banned in Germany), Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s brilliant rock score and searingly emotional book take the story of sexual awakening, youth revolt, and self-discovery into a new century. It’s 1891, and grown-ups hold all the cards. Headstrong Melchior and naive Wendla stumble into each others’ arms, passionate and curious, while anxious Moritz struggles to live up to the stringent expectations of society. With only each other for guidance, this group of young men and women travel the fraught and rocky path of adolescence, discovering their bodies, their minds, and themselves along the way. An electric, vibrant celebration of youth and rebellion, Spring Awakening fuses issues of morality, sexuality, and rock and roll into a story that packs a powerful emotional punch. READ MORE >
RATING: PG | 12+ with explicit language
Read more about show ratings and recommendations >
FROM THE DIRECTOR JP THIBODEAU
Where do I even begin? Here we are 6 months into a global pandemic and you are reading my notes in a digital program for a show you are either about to see or have already seen....online. I can safely say I never saw this as part of my five-year planning for our theatre when we sat down to discuss our future in January this year. Around that same time, I was prepping the audition process for our Student Summer Intensive Program.
We announced last September what our show would be and I was excited and scared to bring Spring Awakening to the StoryBook stage. Some people questioned this choice, something that has never dictated my planning, but it pushed my thinking for what we do here at StoryBook.
Traditionally we are known as a company that produces shows for children. That, however, is only part of the programming we do. Families have children of all ages and with my own 13-year-old and 10-year-old at home, I want theatre that speaks to them too, stories that will teach them and encourage conversation.
Theatre is the perfect bridge for conversation and in many ways, it is our duty as there artists to present stories at all levels to encourage healthy and strong family discussions through the safe space of our theatre world.
Ironically, moving to an online world really pushes that thinking in a whole new way. Families can connect in the comfort of their own home, Suddenly the living room or office or where ever you and your family are able to watch our production becomes that place to experience theatre and engage in our storytelling.
Bringing theatre to your home or personal device has been no easy feat. Add to that COVID19, masks, face shields, plexiglass barriers, hand sanitizer, 6 ft, no touching, now singing and you have the truest test of the human spirit. I believe so passionately in the power of theatre for not only families to converse, but the emerging artists whom I have the honour of meeting show after show. I just could not imagine my summer without the students and this program and when I made the choice to keep moving forward in March I honestly had no idea what this all would mean for them, but I knew we had to carry on.
Throughout the summer they all rose to the occasion, pivoting and shifting as required and all with keeping the end goal in focus. Each summer the students of this program teach me so much about myself and about the kind of theatre I want to create. Ultimately they rejuvenate my soul, they put me in check and inevitably remind me of why I made this choice in the first place. This year, that reminder meant a lot because this is not the theatre I dreamed of, instead I was reminded of the friendships this world creates and the power that one show has to bring complete strangers together to share a story and the impact that creation has on those in the process.
That is the power of theatre. That is why telling stories for everyone to enjoy and participate in is at the heart of what I do and want to do, even if for a short while it means we do it in some unconventional way.
I am so proud of what we have created for you regardless of the struggles to get here. I am proud of this story and all the stories we will bring to you in one way or another, that's all part of being pushed to our growing edge.
Please share our posts and spread the word about this incredible group of young people and the team who bravely pushed to bring you this story. Perhaps this is our purple summer.
Thank you for your support.
Production Inclusion Statics
54 % FEMALE/NON-BINARY
53% ON STAGE
27 % BIPOC
31% ON STAGE
16 % LGBTQIA2S+
14% ON STAGE
WHY DID WE CHOOSE SPRING AWAKENING?
When the creative team and I sit down to decide which production to produce each year we focus on the program mission "to provide young performers with the opportunity to encounter pivotal works in the musical theatre canon. We facilitate this encounter through intensive skill-building in voice, dance and acting, through the full-scale performance of these works, and engagement in the issues and questions raised by the content and performance of each work."
Having done some of the fun musicals like Grease and Bring it On we thought it was time again to tackle a more serious production that would have a lasting impact on not only our participants but on our audience as well. In doing my research for this note I came across this great article which perfectly explains the importance of sharing this work and why producing it with teenagers is so important to its telling.
StoryBook is a family theatre company and teenagers are just as much a part of the family unit as the little ones are. In choosing to do this show we know we are pushing the boundaries of our storytelling but we also know that musicals provide a space for families to encounter new content and subject matter in a safe way. it allows the doors to conversations to open and in some cases may have the impact it needs to save lives.
Please have a read of this poignant article.
WHY SPRING AWAKENING?
Spring Awakening is a show that holds no punches. The musical (based on the play by Frank Wedekind) centers around a group of misguided and angsty 19th century German teenagers who struggle through abortion, suicide, and exploring their sexuality.
One of the greatest obstacles they face, though, is their ignorant (and sometimes abusive) parents and teachers. In the song "The Dark I Know Well" two girls sing about the physical and sexual abuse they've faced at the hands of their parents, and how they feel they have no voice to speak out against them. That happens to be a recurring theme in Spring Awakening. The character's struggles, both internal and external, stem from their inability to find a voice.
This is why Spring Awakening is so important. The same way the angry guitar-driven rock jams of the show give a voice to the characters, the show itself gives a voice to teenagers who face the same hardships as the characters they are portraying.
The two main characters of the show are a young man and woman who are exploring a physical relationship together, without any knowledge of the consequences. Their parents refuse to tell them anything about their changing bodies, and their school system has no place for sex education. While the story of these children being betrayed by their role models and caregivers seems just tragic enough for a staged production, this story is one that often plays out in the real world.
The show's biting commentary of sex education in public schools is just as relevant as the other issues in the show, including the epidemic of teenage suicides.
Through the songs "B**** of Living" and "Don't Do Sadness," the character Moritz expresses and stresses the struggles he faces every day. He even writes a letter to an adult in his life, pleading for help, but the dangerous signs of depression go unnoticed and he eventually takes his own life. All of these problems faced by the characters are extremely relevant to teenagers today. So why aren't more high schools performing it?
Most public schools shy away from musicals like Spring Awakening. The strong language alone is enough to keep it out of the hands of most high school theatre departments. Even for the high schools that are allowed to perform shows like American Idiot and Rent, which have strong language and edgy subject material, Spring Awakening still seems out of grasp. The subject matter of sex and sexuality is off-limits.
But teenagers grapple with these issues every day of their lives. The characters Ernst and Hanschen represent teenage youths exploring their sexuality together. Gay characters do not often appear in musicals performed by high schools, and when they do, they are frequently portrayed as a punchline and not as real people with real emotions and motivations. What message does this send to the hundreds of thousands of students who not only view but perform this material?
The message that Spring Awakening sends is that whatever you're going through, whoever you are, whomever you love, it's okay. It's all part of growing up. And that message is so crucial to developing teenagers.
Many students who perform Spring Awakening are extremely passionate about what they're creating. Not only is it a beautiful work of art, with a precise, emotional score and a compelling script, but students are also more likely to be invested in what they perform when they can connect directly to what they create.
Students, and the community they belong to, deserve an artistic outlet that leaves a lasting, positive effect. A dialogue needs to be started somewhere, and many theatre students are devoted enough to be the ones to do it.
We perform Spring Awakening because our youth needs a voice. We perform Spring Awakening because sexual abuse and suicide should not be swept under the rug. We perform Spring Awakening because it is important.
Mama Who Bore Me – Wendla
Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise) – Wendla and Girls
All That's Known – Melchior
The Bitch of Living – Moritz, Melchior, and Boys
My Junk – Girls and Boys
Touch Me – Boys and Girls
The Word of Your Body – Wendla and Melchior
The Dark I Know Well – Martha, Ilse, and Boys
The Word of Your Body (Reprise 1) - Otto and Georg
And Then There Were None – Moritz and Boys
The Mirror-Blue Night – Melchior and Boys
I Believe – Boys and Girls
The Guilty Ones– Wendla, Melchior, Boys, and Girls
Don't Do Sadness – Moritz
Blue Wind – Ilse
Don't Do Sadness/Blue Wind (Reprise) – Moritz and Ilse
Left Behind – Melchior, Boys, and Girls
Totally F*cked – Melchior and Full Company (except Moritz)
The Word of Your Body (Reprise 2) – Hanschen, Ernst, Boys, and Girls
Whispering – Wendla
Those You've Known – Moritz, Wendla, and Melchior
The Song of Purple Summer – Ilse and Full Company
MEET THE CAST
As part of our ongoing mission to encourage as many young artists as we can the choice was made to double cast the 4 principal woman roles. Those casts are defined as follows:
Maddie Arnason as Wendla
Natalie Evans as Martha
Kalia Kryvenchuk as Ilse
Gabriella Remillard as Anna
Elizabeth Zabala as Thea
Jeannette Van Nieuwstadt as Wendla
Maddie McKee as Martha
Layne Labbe as Ilse
Daniella Snyders-Blok as Anna
Kenzie Bye as Thea
STAGE & FILM TEAM CREDITS
Acting Coach | CASSIE DOANE
Dance Coach | JOCELYN HOOVER LEIVER
Vocal Coach | DALLAS HAYES SPARKS
Vocal Coach | SUSAN LEONTARIDIS
Vocal Coach | KATHLEEN MORRISON
Program Director | JP THIBODEAU
Stage Director | JP THIBODEAU
Musical Director | JOE SLABE
Choreographer | JOCELYN HOOVER LEIVER
Stage Manager | JOY HODGSON
Assistant Stage Manager | CALE THOMPSON
Costume Designer | DARCIE HOWE
Costume Design Assistant | JESSICA RONEY
Lighting Designer | JP THIBODEAU
Set Designer | JP THIBODEAU
Set Painting | LORIE MASUR
Lighting Crew | MICHAEL LUONG
Lighting Crew | SKYLAR DESJARDINS
Lighting Crew | JOHN FOURNIER
Graphic Design | JENNIFER MERIO
Public Relations | ALDONA BARUTOWICZ
Artistic Director | JP THIBODEAU
Office Administrator | EVA STIEBER
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Visit our Board website
Film Director | JP THIBODEAU
Director of Photography | KRIS MISH
1st Assistant Director | KRIS MISH
2nd Assistant Director | JOY HODGSON
2nd Assistant Director | CALE THOMPSON
3rd Assistant Director | CASSIE DOANE
3rd Assistant Director | CONSTANTINE X. ANASTASAKIS
Wardrobe Head | DARCIE HOWE
Wardrobe Assistant | JOLENE ANDERSON
Wardrobe Assistant | JESSICA RONEY
Hair Support | CAT BENTLEY
Lighting Programmer | IAN McCLELLAN
Script Supervisor | JOY HODGSON
Location Sound | CALE THOMPSON
Camera Assistant | MICHAEL LUONG
Production Assistant | GINA BENNETT
Production Assistant | KRISTI McQUADE
Production Assistant | MICHAEL LUONG
Archival Photography | BRYAN SMITH
Music Editor & Supervisor | JOE SLABE
Filming Produced by | PINK+WHITE
Edited by | KRIS MISH
Producers | JP THIBODEAU & KRIS MISH
Executive Producer | STORYBOOK THEATRE
SUPPORTERS, DONORS & CONTRIBUTORS
PRIVATE SECTOR SUPPORTERS
DONORS, SUPPORTERS & CONTRIBUTORS
Janet Gourlay Vallance