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by shurand

Spring Awakening today is, for some, what Rent was in the ‘90s. Originally written as a German play by Frank Wedekind in the 19th century (and promptly banned), it resurfaced as a rock musical by Duncan Sheik in 2006. Starring Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff of future Glee fame, the show took home eight Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score. It was recently revived on Broadway by Deaf West Theater in 2015, receiving an additional three Tony nominations.

The story follows teens under oppressive boarding school and home regimes as they navigate a multitude of difficult topics including sexuality, pregnancy, abortion, suicide, neglect, and abuse – serious stuff! That’s why Ann Arbor in Concert – which is producing the show for one night only on Saturday, July 15th – is working to ensure that prospective patrons learn as much about the musical’s content and topics as they can before deciding if the show is right for them. The Ann Arbor District Library is presenting, Spring Awakening: How a 19th-Century German Play Rocks with Relevance Today,” a talk and discussion led by Corner Health Center Health Educator, Social Worker, and Teen Peer Education Theatre Troupe Leader, Craig VanKempen, MSW, MPH. This event will take place on Monday, July 10, from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Library’s Downtown Branch.

The Library offers a plethora of additional resources for community members to educate themselves about Spring Awakening and its topics. Patrons can check out the musical score or soundtrack to hear the incredibly powerful music and decide if the more explicit lyrics are their cup of tea. Frank Wedekind’s Four Major Plays is also available for those interested in reading a translation of the original story.

One of the primary conflicts of the musical is that the adults prioritize avoiding their own discomfort over their children and students’ safety. Today we know that, although uncomfortable at times, understanding and talking about sex, consent, suicide, and bullying reduces shame, promotes accurate information, and enables people to access resources when they need help. How different would the story of Spring Awakening be if Wendla’s mother had talked to her the way that Grandma talks to her grandchild in Anastasia Higginbotham’s book, or if members of the entire community had been about to check out resources like Kate Bornstein’s book from their local library. Today we also have many excellent organizations in our community including Ele’s Place, Ozone House, SafeHouse Center, and Corner Health Center to provide additional support and resources to those who need them.

Spring Awakening is not a show for everyone, and Ann Arbor in Concert has posted a parental advisory to encourage prospective patrons, particularly those with younger family members, to learn more about the show before purchasing tickets.

AADL's Pulp has published a preview about the show.

Ann Arbor in Concert’s one-night-only performance of Spring Awakening will be on Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 8 p.m. at the Power Center. Tickets are on sale at or at the Michigan Union Ticket Office.


Great preview, thank you! I wish I could go to this! I hope to see a review afterwords! :)

This show was really, really, great! Very talented cast and they gave their hearts to it. Wow x 1,000!
I wish it was having a longer run so they could get more attention and appreciation for their efforts, also so more people would get a chance to see it, and lastly, so I could go back and see it again.

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