Spring Awakening

Spring Awakening

Wow…..really?  A Deaf Musical on Broadway?  Who would have thought this possible not too long ago?  Marlee Matlin was approached to become a part of this production and she had to consider her choices carefully. Marlee has established herself as an actor at the top of her game in movies and television. But Broadway?  And again…….a MUSICAL?

Camryn Manheim is fluent in sign language. A piece of trivia which will come as news to some. The following excerpts come from recent interviews highlighting the actors’ excitement regarding this “new frontier.”

“It took a long time to get to this place, that now we can see deaf actors on stage,” Marlee Matlin said. “To be able to see how ASL brings out even more in a performance than just what we’re accustomed to.”

“It’s a dream, honestly a dream!” Camryn Manheim smiled.

“It’s so exciting to just be here,” Lauren Luiz said. “We’re both making our Broadway debuts”

The smash musical Spring Awakening is rockin’ the stage once again.

“I was in the original so this is a full-circle moment for me,” Krysta Rodriguez said. “It’s a really special to revisit something I thought I knew so well and see it in a completely different way.”

It tells the story of how teens navigate their emerging sexuality.

“People exploring their bodies, going through a change they don’t really understand,” Rodriguez explained.  “And our understanding of uncomfortable conversations between adults and children.”

The original 200 musical won eight Tony Awards and helped catapult the careers of Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff and Skylar Astin. But this production is already setting itself apart.

“It’s like being a grandparent, you’re seeing your child have a child,” Steven Sater, books and lyrics, said.

“It maybe the best sounding cast we’ve ever had,” Duncan Sheik, music, added

The cast features a whole new group of people.

“I’ve never done musical theater,” Sandra Mae Frank signed. “I’ve done drama, comedy, tragedy, Shakespeare, so I’m relieved that this is part of my repertoire.”

It stars deaf actors who sign throughout the entire show.

“Before I was involved in this show, I never thought that I would be in a musical,” Daniel Durant signed. “It has been a really big challenge, we’ve had people say you can’t do it and in fact I found out I’m very good at it.”

And for the hearing performers, well, they needed to learn the language.

“I did not know a stitch of sign language so at first it was I had to put the signs to the words and learn them as choreography,” Rodriguez said. “But then I started to learn what the words were.”

This will be the first of its kind on the Great White Way.

A performance they say, you need to see to believe.

“I don’t think people really know what this is,” Austin McKenzie said. “It’s not just a revival, it’s vehicle for a new world that they will have never thought existed.”

Spring Awakening  begins previews this week and officially open September 27 at the Brooks Atkinsons Theatre.





Special thanks for Pix II News and Kim Pestalozzi for contributing to article content.

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About Evelyn

Evelyn Hunter is a SODA with years of experiential study in Deaf Culture. She attended Gallaudet University to immerse herself in this unique deaf world while working for the University and studying sign language to hone her skills. Evelyn has served in training, relationship sales, and marketing -- always seeking to expand awareness of Deaf Culture and the unique challenges the deaf face on a daily basis. The Sign Language Company has recently established a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and a website with a blog, as Evelyn coordinates the marketing and outreach efforts for the agency. Her goal is to attract new clients seeking exceptional service, while maintaining optimal relationships with clients who have selected The Sign Language Company for over 20 years.

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