15 Years of Spring Awakening

15 Years of Spring Awakening

15 years ago today, Spring Awakening opened on Broadway. Set in 1890s Germany, Spring Awakening tells the story of a group of teenagers misunderstood and confined by society through an electrifying fusion of morality, sexuality and rock and roll. This exhilirating musical has spoken to new generations of musical theatre devotees through its poignancy and passion.

Author Steven Sater told us: "For me, the real thrill of the past 15 years has been seeing all the ways in which Spring Awakening  has been reimagined to meet the changing times.  When we first began work on the piece, we were urged to update the story — to give it a contemporary spin.  But I was wary of creating a period piece about the early 2000s.  By leaving our tale firmly in the 19th century, and bringing a contemporary score to it, we aimed to create a more timeless fable, a more enduring mirror on the ever-shifting present.  I’m so grateful we did.  In the visionary hands of Deaf West Theatre, in the masked and socially-distanced versions streamed during the pandemic, and in the thrilling reinvention (which highlights youth activism) currently in previews at the Almeida Theatre in London, our musical has remained as potent and of-the-moment as Wedekind’s brave original play."

Join us as we look back on this landmark musical's past and towards its future. For years to come, "all shall know the wonder" of Spring Awakening

The Original Broadway Production

After gaining much buzz during its Off-Broadway run at the Atlantic Theater Company, Spring Awakening opened on Broadway on December 10, 2006 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. The production starred Jonathan Groff, Lea Michele, John Gallagher Jr., Lilli Cooper, Lauren Pritchard, Gideon Glick, Skylar Astin, Jonathan B. Wright, Stephen Spinella, Christine Estabrook, Brian Charles Johnson, Phoebe Strole, and Remy Zaken. Spring Awakening won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for John Gallagher Jr. Spring Awakening particularly struck a chord among young theatre audiences who found the show refreshingly resonant. The production ran for 859 performances and 29 previews, closing on January 18, 2009. 

2015 Broadway Revival


On September 27, 2015, the Deaf West Theatre Broadway revival of Spring Awakening opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Performed both in American Sign Language and English, this production was the first Broadway show to offer interpretations to deaf and blind audience members. The cast included Oscar winner Marlee Matilin, Sandra Mae Frank, Katie Boeck, Austin P. McKenzie, Daniel N. Durant, Alex Boniello, Krysta Rodriguez, Andy Mientus, Russell Harvard, Patrick Page, Camryn Manheim, and Ali Stroker making history as the first Broadway performer using a wheelchair. The critically acclaimed revival received three Tony nominations, including Best Revival of a Musical.

The Reunion Concert


A post shared by Skylar Astin (@skylarastin)


On November 15, all knew the wonder once again as the original cast of the first Broadway production of Spring Awakening came together for a one-night reuinion benefit concert dedicated to raising money for The Actors Fund. Tickets for the concert sold out within hours as the original cast and composer Steven Sater gathered together to sing those iconic pieces of music from just 15 years prior. After the concert, it was announced that HBO and Radical Media will release a documentary about the event and its process in 2022.

2021 London Revival

The Almeida Theatre production of Spring Awakening began performances on December 7th, 2021. This first ever London revival is directed by Rupert Goold, who has worked closely with Steven Sater throughout the entire process. The production stars Nathan Armarkwei-Laryea, Asha Banks, Taylor Bradshaw, Catherine Cusack, Carly-Sophia Davies, Kit Esuruoso, Laurie Kynaston, Mark Lockyer, Bella Maclean, Amara Okereke, Emily Ooi, Joe Pitts, Maia Tamrakar, Stuart Thompson, Zheng Xi Yong, Thomas Grant, and Mali O'Donnell. The revival is set to run until January 22, 2022.

For 15 years, Spring Awakening's characters and songs have changed the way we look at musical theatre. We could not be more excited and proud that this work continues to be celebrated around the world through various forms of expression, each beautiful in their own unique way. Today and beyond, Music Theatre International celebrates the massive impact of Spring Awakening on contemporary musical theatre.