Rocco Cirillo, left, plays a Holocaust educator, and Fern Katz a Holocaust survivor in the play. (Courtesy)

The March of the Living spurs Boca Raton native to write play about the Holocaust

Lois K. Solomon, Sun Sentinel, December 2018

It was a nervous habit. Tyler Ellman anxiously tapped and shuffled his feet as he walked through the Auschwitz concentration camp, spurring questioning looks from his fellow teen pilgrims.


Ellman was on a trip called the March of the Living, where Jewish teens visit the death camps the Nazis built in Poland during World War II and then proceed to Israel for a refreshing view of Jewish survival and success. The trip came right after Ellman, a senior at West Boca Raton High School at the time, had started tap dance lessons.


Cameron Kasky, 17, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, rehearsing “Spring Awakening” while members of the original Broadway cast watched. Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

Parkland Survivors Get a Broadway Master Class in Healing

Alexis Soloski, NEW YORK TIMES, April 18, 2018

BOCA RATON, Fla. — On a Tuesday evening in a small theater in the back of a shopping center here, the teenage cast of the rock musical “Spring Awakening” pogoed around the stage, shouting the unprintable lyrics from one of its most ferocious songs.


Ever since the show opened on Broadway in 2006, collecting eight Tony Awards, it has attracted a fervid teenage following, and is steadily performed in high schools and colleges. But most young casts haven’t survived a catastrophe that dovetails eerily with the show’s plot. They haven’t galvanized a movement that has made each rehearsal a potential target.


In the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, the teenage cast of Spring Awakening prepares to take the stage. Photograph by Zak Krevitt

They Don’t Do Sadness

Isaac Butler, TOPIC, Spring 2018

In a cramped, soundproof rehearsal studio tucked behind a Dunkin’ Donuts in a shopping center in West Boca Raton, Florida, Christine Barclay paces amid quietly seated teenagers. The room is too small for them to sit in a circle, so her audience of ten is scattered across the floor. Christine is trying not to get ahead of herself: the production of Spring Awakening that she’s directing, starring high-school kids from the area, opens in seven weeks, and already they’ve lost too much time.


The cast in rehearsal for “Spring Awakening” at the Boca Black Box theatre.

A Florida ‘Awakening’ in the Wake of Tragedy


The Stoneman Douglas school shooting and the #NeverAgain movement made a stark, stirring backdrop for a high school production of the coming-of-age musical.


Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been through the unspeakable. But in the wake of the mass shooting at their school in February, many have found new platforms for their voices. And some took a break from the world stage to the stage of the Boca Black Box theatre, where they performed Spring Awakening last week (May 2-9) with the local training and production company Barclay Performing Arts.


On May 2 and May 6, six student survivors of the Stoneman Douglas massacre will appear at Boca Black Box Center for the Arts in a production of “Spring Awakening,” the hit Broadway musical that has eerie parallels to the Feb. 14 shooting.

For Marjory Stoneman Douglas drama students, a ‘Spring Awakening’ like no other

Rod Stafford Hagwood, SUN SENTINEL, May 8, 2018

It may be the hottest show in South Florida.


A troupe of young adults and students, including six survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, are appearing in a production of the rock musical “Spring Awakening.” Set to be performed May 2, May 6-7 and May 9, the show already has drawn major attention, shifting some of the media spotlight from the trauma at the school to the relative refuge of a quiet shopping center about 10 miles away in Boca Raton.


‘Awakening: After Parkland’ Short Doc Bows From ‘Science Fair’ Filmmakers & First Look Media’s Topic Studios

Anita Busch, DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD, June 20, 2018

EXCLUSIVE: “A part of me, like, wants to go back to being a normal teenager again, but I just feel like how can you go back when all of this is happening?” wonders 16 year-old Sawyer Garrity who is one of the students featured on the short documentary Awakening: After Parkland. The play, and the doc, follows young actors — which includes students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — as they stage a play through Barclay’s Performing Arts to try to bring a semblance of normalcy back to their lives and the surrounding community. The 20-minute short was directed by Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster whose Science Fair won the Audience Award at Sundance.


Parkland Shooting Survivors Find Inspiration, Purpose in Staging Timely Musical Born of Teenage Pain


In the midst of mourning friends and sparking an urgent national movement to change gun laws in their memory, a question hung over a group of students who survived the February mass shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.


Would the show go on? Could it?


The film features the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as they continue their community production of Spring Awakening in the wake of tragedy.

EXCLUSIVE: Watch the Official Trailer for New Documentary Awakening: After Parkland


Theatre and activism collide in the new documentary short Awakening: After Parkland, out July 2.


It came as no surprise to lovers of theatre that the articulate and compassionate student activists in Parkland, Florida, were also theatre kids. It just so happened local teens—including six students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School—were rehearsing for a community production of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s Tony-winning musical Spring Awakening before a mass shooting took the lives of 17 people at the school February 14.