October 17, 2022

West Chester University’s Department of Theatre & Dance Presents SPRING AWAKENING October 20 - 23Spring Awakening

West Chester University’s Department of Theatre & Dance presents SPRING AWAKENING from October 20 - 23, 2022 with book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik. It is based on the play by Frank Wedekind. SPRING AWAKENING runs Thursday - Saturday, October 20 – 22, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, October 22 and 23 at 2:00 p.m. in the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre, Swope Music Building and Performing Arts Center, 817 S. High Street, West Chester. General admission tickets are $12 at  www.wcupatix.com.  

The winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, SPRING AWAKENING follows a group of teenage German students as they struggle to understand and obtain agency over their own bodies inside of a repressive, dismissive, ill-informed, and often cruel society. The folk-rock score by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater is equal parts powerful and poetic, acting as a raw reflection of the characters’ inner lives, and a powerful celebration of youth and rebellion. Suggested for mature audiences, the play’s content includes nudity, suicide as well as other difficult themes.

WCU’s Dept. of Theatre & Dance was one-week into rehearsal for a production of SPRING AWAKENING in March of 2020 before COVID-19 shut down all live productions on WCU’s campus for over a year.  

Spring AwakeningFour principal cast members (Jessie Hazell, April Marion, Mia McDermott, and Hope McGinnis) were cast members as first-year students in 2020 and are now seniors who are finally able to bring their roles to life onstage. 

Hope McGinnis, who plays the character of Ilse, says, "When we first started rehearsals for SPRING AWAKENING, the cast’s connection to the material and to each other was instant and deep. We were devastated when the production was canceled. The entire current cast has breathed new life into a show we thought was a closed chapter.”

SPRING AWAKENING is based on a progressive German play of the same title. Written in the late 1890’s by Frank Wedekind, the play was ahead of its time and interrogated how German society was educating its youth by documenting consequences that can occur when we keep teens ignorant about their bodies.

Director and Associate Professor of Theatre Charlie DelMarcelle says, “SPRING AWAKENING is about a group of young people who are grappling with their sexuality and desires, but who live inside of a system that is not giving them any answers. Even asking questions is considered shameful and sinful. Some of the themes explored are particularly potent right now given current events in modern-day America.”

McGinnis adds, “We never could have predicted just how vital the message of this show would become over the past few years and we are so grateful to finally tell this story. If there was ever a time to do SPRING AWAKENING, it is right now."

SPRING AWAKENING employs a cast of 13 that includes Mar’Keece Barnett (Otto), Madelyn Ebersole (Adult Woman), Grace Halsey (Thea), JT Hawkes (Georg), Jessie Hazell (Martha), Ronnie Hernandez (Moritz), April Marion (Wendla), Lionel McCulloch (Adult Man), Matt Melchior (Melchior), Mia McDermott (Anna), Hope McGinnis (Ilse), Jack McGinniss (Ernst), Jonah Padula (Hanschen).

The Department of Theatre & Dance at West Chester University, an accredited institution of the National Association of Schools of Theatre, prepares students for the professional and the academic worlds of Theatre and Dance, while raising student awareness of civility, diversity, creativity, problem solving and social responsibility. The department offers a BA Theatre degree program with elective concentrations in Musical Theatre, Performance, and Design and Production, in addition to a dance minor and theatre minor. 


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