Arizona School for the Arts

No School- Monday, May 28, 2018, Memorial Day.

Spring Awakening notes for parents


The ASA Theatre Arts Department is proud to close out our 2016-17 season with a production of Spring Awakening. This is a sensitive production that provides a stark look in to the sometimes deadly challenges that some youth face as they become adults.  


As director and Theatre Arts team teaching artist Rusty Ferracane writes in his director’s note for the piece:


“In 1891, the German playwright, Frank Wedekind finished his play, “Spring Awakening: A Children’s Tragedy”.  Due to its extremely controversial nature, criticizing the sexual oppressive culture of the 19th century, the play did not have its first performance until 15 years later in Berlin.  After that, it was generally considered too provocative to be performed and was often banned or censored.  


In 2006, Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater adapted the play into a Tony Award winning Broadway musical.  The play’s original themes of teenage sexuality, religious and parental oppression, homosexuality, abortion and suicide were uncensored and underscored with alternative folk-rock music.  


While “Spring Awakening” may not be a typical choice for a high school production, I felt our students at ASA were talented and mature enough to present the un-edited version as the authors’ originally intended it.  Fortunately, our administration and school board felt the same way and entrusted us to perform the piece in a sensitive and highly artistic manner.


I truly believe theatre provides a pathway to communication.  The stories of these teenagers in “Spring Awakening”, while a work of fiction, are very real, even today, and need to be discussed. The original Broadway producers stated:


It is extraordinary how contemporary this story feels more than 100 years after it was first written.  Then as now, it illuminates not only the stories of these young people, but also the role that we, as adults, take in raising our teens; the challenges of finding a way to be responsive to their needs, to empower them with the truth and to do all within our grasp to guide them with love and understanding into their adulthood.


Hopefully this production can open the door to some insightful, compassionate and meaningful conversations between family members, friends and our community.”


The ASA Theatre Arts Department has partnered with Teen Lifeline, O.W.L. (Our Whole Lives) Sexual Health Program, and Youth board members from Planned Parenthood Arizona to facilitate a talkback after the show that engages the themes of the play and connects young people to real community resources that can keep them healthy and safe in times of need.   


Please note: this show contains graphic language, mature themes, and is recommended for ages 16+ with parent permission.