NTC to present edgy, thrilling ‘Spring Awakening’

“Spring Awakening,” opening July 25 at Newnan Theatre Company, speaks directly to today’s teens.

This 2007 Tony Award-winning Broadway rock musical by Duncan Sheik and Steve Sater is based on a late nineteenth century play by Frank Wedekind. Very controversial in its time, Wedekind’s play depicted German parents extending childhood long past the time when nature dictated it was over. They essentially abandoned their children to cope with awakening sexuality without knowledge or support of any kind.

Today’s American teenagers are luckier — they have enlightened parents, or at least the Internet. Nevertheless, they understand the “Spring Awakening” characters, and they love the music.

NTC offers teens an opportunity to perform in shows they wouldn’t necessarily be able to do in school. “Spring Awakening” is both edgy and relevant. The tragic situations and strong language are inappropriate for young children, but mature teens will understand and empathize.

“‘Spring Awakening’ speaks to their teen angst and wanting to be treated like adults,” said director Mandy Mitchell. “Everybody went through a rebellious period at this age. So the kids that are in the show get it. It’s what they’re living right now.”

Having directed, performed, and choreographed many productions, Mitchell is one of the talented and dedicated volunteers that are the heart and soul of NTC.

“Sheik and Sater have taken the Frank Wedekind story, made the language more accessible, and added very modern music,” continued Mitchell. “Our stage set is almost a playground. We’re removing the curtains from the stage. There will be a swing, monkey bars, and a push-type merry-go-round. The setting will emphasize the containment of the children in a child-like area even though they are of high school and college age.”

“We had to turn some kids away because so many auditioned. They all love this show intensely. ‘Spring Awakening’ has become a cult show in the way that ‘Rent’ was one in the 1990s.”

“It’s great to be able to direct kids in high school and college because that’s where I was most heavily influenced,” she said. “This show really is an ensemble piece – no one character dominates. The adult parts are being played by children wearing masks. You learn about all their stories and what specifically they are dealing with.”

Bruce Patterson, who teaches music at Arnall Middle School, is the show’s music director. “He came in at the last minute and has been wonderful,” said Mitchell. “He’s lucky because these kids have such musical ability,”

Susan Babcock, the show’s choreographer, has recently moved to Newnan and works for the Georgia Academy of Dance. “She’s very creative and gets the creativity out of the kids,” said Mitchell. “She has shown them how to make the very modern signature moves from the Broadway production their own.”

“I’m excited about the show because it’s an opportunity for kids of this age to work with such amazing material,” said Mitchell. “It doesn’t always happen that everybody’s so passionate about doing something. They’re in it to win it.”

To purchase tickets, and for show dates and times, visit Newnan Theatre Company’s website at www.newnantheatre.org or visit the box office before or after any performance. The theatre is located in historic downtown Newnan at 24 First Avenue.

If you have questions regarding the content of any show, email Artistic Director Tony Daniel at artisticdirector@newnantheatre.org .



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