Edgy 'Spring Awakening' play comes to SF

September 8, 2008 9:03:01 PM PDT
The Tony Award winning best musical "Spring Awakening" opened its North American tour at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco. On Sunday night, the controversial show deals with issues of teenage sexuality growing up in a repressed environment of 19th century Germany.

The Tony Award winning best musical "Spring Awakening" opened its North American tour at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco on Sunday night. The controversial show deals with issues of teenage sexuality growing up in a repressed environment of 19th century Germany.

It is powerful, tender and edgy. 'Spring Awakening' is based on a banned 1891 German play about teenagers' discovery of sexuality.

"I think it's important that the piece has teeth and that way the music can really deepen these intense human experiences these kids are going through," says composer Duncan Sheik of the hit single "Barely Breathing."

The show was brought to Broadway by Producer Tom Hulce, the actor who played 'Amadeus' in the Oscar winning film.

"In a piece that has so much controversial potential, it's been kind of remarkable the degree which that all segment have found ways to climb in," says Hulce.

The play includes nudity, sex, teen pregnancy, teen suicide and abortion -- issues that haven't changed. This is groundbreaking theatre or as the poster says, "Broadway may never be the same." It is explicit and you might call it R-rated

"There are conversations that need to happen between parents and their kids, and when they don't happen, there can be tragic consequences," says Sheik.

The fact that it got to Broadway is like a script in itself. In 1999, the timing was right in Sheik's career.

"We'll write a musical, we'll workshop it, go to Broadway and everyone is going to be happily ever after."

But it would take seven years. It started with workshops, then it went off Broadway, and finally, Hulce got money for Broadway.

"We've been spoiled by the audience's reaction, for sure," says Sheik.


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