‘Spring Awakening’ musical explores teen issues


BOWLING GREEN, O.—Like tender green shoots pushing their way up through the earth, adolescents are impelled by nature’s irresistible forces, often leaving them terribly vulnerable. On April 18, the Bowling Green State University Department of Theatre and Film will present the musical “Spring Awakening,” capturing the timeless pain and poignancy of youth.

Written in 1891 by German playwright Frank Wedekind, the play was originally banned in Germany for its frank depiction of sexuality and controversial issues. It gained a new life on Broadway in 2006 as a folk-infused rock musical, with book and lyrics by Steven Sater, and music by Duncan Sheik. Featuring Lea Michele, prior to her “Glee” debut, as one of the three primary cast members, the production was an enormous success, winning eight Tony awards, four Drama Desk awards and a Grammy for the original cast album.

Although the subject matter can be disturbing — ranging from abuse to teenage sexuality to suicide, “the issues the play deals with are just as vital and important today as they were more than a century ago,” said Dr. Michael Ellison, a professor of theater and director of the BGSU production. While society is much more open than it was in the late 1800s, teens often still feel isolated and unsure, conflicted about their burgeoning sexuality and at risk for depression and coercion.

The play opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 18. Additional performances are at 8 p.m. on April 19, 20 and 21; and at 2 p.m. on April 20, in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre, in the Wolfe Center for the Arts.

In addition to the performances, BGSU is also taking the opportunity the musical provides to share resources available to those who may be grappling with similar feelings or situations presented in “Spring Awakening.” Working with The Wellness Connection, the Counseling Center and various student groups such as the Clothesline Project, the Department of Theatre and Film is committed to making the performance a springboard for important discussions among students, parents, teachers, and friends.

Several panel discussions are planned for the weeks leading up to the production, as well as a Director’s Forum at 7 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre on opening night.

“We want to engage our students and community, and foster dialogue and understanding,” said Ellison. The topics will range from sexual assault to suicide to homosexuality.

For more information about this production and panel discussion dates and information, visit http://www.bgsu.edu/cultural_arts/spring_awakening.html

Due to adult language and subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. The production is intended for mature audiences.

Tickets purchased online are $10 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and non-BGSU students and $1.75 for BGSU students. For more information about this production and panel discussion dates and information, visit www.bgsu.edu/SpringAwakening

Tickets purchased by phone or in person at the box office are $12 for adults and $9 for students. Call 419-372-8171. Box office hours are noon-5 p.m. Monday to Friday.  

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(Posted April 04, 2013 )