Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Deaf West and The Forest of Arden Present an Innovative SPRING AWAKENING


Deaf West Theatre in association with The Forest of Arden, will present an innovative, immersive production of Spring Awakening performed simultaneously in American Sign Language and spoken English beginning Sept. 13 at Inner City Arts in downtown L.A. The musical, featuring book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik is based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial 1891 expressionist play of the same name and features an electrifying rock/pop score.

An extraordinary creative team, including director Michael Arden (Patrick on the FX series Anger Management, Deaf WestBig River on Broadway and Pippin at the Mark Taper Forum), musical director Jared Stein (first National Tour of Spring Awakening as well as Broadway productions of American Idiot and Hair) and choreographer Spencer Liff (Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance,  Hedwig and the Angry Inch starring Neil Patrick Harris on Broadway) reinvents the groundbreaking musical about lost innocence and the struggles of youth in true Deaf West style.

The cast of 25 deaf, hard of hearing and hearing actors and musicians includes Joey Antonio, Miles Barbee, Jimmy Bellinger, Katie Boeck, Joshua Castille, Julian Comeau, Daniel Durant, Treshelle Edmond, Max Fishman, Sandra Mae Frank, Kathryn Gallagher, Gabrielle Garza, Sean Grandillo, Karla Gutierrez, Joseph Haro, Amelia Hensley, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Marmion, Austin McKenzie, Lauren Patten, Natacha Roi, Rustin Cole Sailors, Daniel David Stewart, Ali Stroker and Alexandra Winter.

“The mix of sign language and choreography performed by this amazing young cast brings the songs to life in a completely new way,” says Arden. “It’s our hope that this reimagining will kindle a new connection between the hearing and deaf communities.”

Deaf West artistic director David J. Kurs suggests that this production illuminates the divide between deaf children and their hearing parents who do not share their world. “The play is all about the fraught relationship between parent and child, about navigating the world without strong guidance,” he explains. “The inability of the characters in Spring Awakening to connect to and communicate with their parents is similar to the experience of many deaf children.”

Deaf West Theatre productions are renowned for weaving ASL with spoken English to create a seamless ballet of movement and voice, thereby creating a fully inclusive theatrical experience for deaf, hard of hearing and hearing audiences.

Spring Awakening runs Sept. 7 - Oct. 19, with opening night set for Sept. 13. Performances take place in the Rosenthal Theater at Inner City Arts, 720 Kohler Street in downtown L.A. (just south of the Arts District). For reservations and information, call (818) 762-2998 or go to www.deafwest.org.

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