06 May SPRING AWAKENING
Many people have asked me why I chose to produce and direct SPRING AWAKENING. Each time I have been asked, I have given a different reason. Each reason as prominent as the one before.
Through trying to articulate the “why” so many different times I finally found myself saying “it just felt right”. Oddly, it was.
There are times in our life that we need to turn away from our pain in order to heal. We need to distract ourselves and we need to look toward the nearest rainbow or “fake it til we make it”.
What I have learned through working with young adults is that they do just about everything they can to put a smile on when they feel like bursting into tears. They try to do everything they can to gather the most ‘likes’ on their social media pages, to stay safe, to succeed, to survive. Sometimes, however, they will admit to themselves that they need a release. A place to let it all hang out, to be damaged, to be dirty, to be bad, to be imperfect, to be ridiculous, to be heard. I decided I wanted to be that place, and I felt that SPRING AWAKENING would be the perfect vehicle to allow them to do it. I just didn’t realize how badly we would all need it.
This show, a bold expression of the teenage human condition, became a far bigger journey than we all thought when we first gathered together at the beginning of January, auditioning for roles and staging 45 pages of the script in one sitting. The first time singing “Totally F***d” at the top of our lungs was simply a hysterical teen battle cry- a song I could tell each cast member had been dying for the opportunity to sing full voice in a chorus. Valentine’s Day quickly came, followed 5 days later by the birth of my daughter… ‘Totally F***d’ took on an entirely different meaning.
Since the world changed 2 and a half months ago, the show that we all felt was going to be a riotous and shocking teen escape became an anthem across the nation and even the world.
Theatre companies and artists across the globe have extended their love and support, expressing their awe at the bravery of the cast for forging ahead. For facing their demons head on. For not running away from the truth they were so realistically living but, instead, baring themselves and hearts in real time. For standing together, holding each other up, and singing about believing… about new life… about forgiveness. The support we have received has been overwhelming, and it has been everything I have ever dreamed an artistic community should and could be.
Today, you see kids. You see young adults. You see pioneers… songwriters, teachers, debaters, jokers & lovers. But above all, you see a demonstration of bravery. Human beings who did not give up and throw in the towel when it got tough. Actors who covered for each other when life changing opportunities came up, learned lines on red eye flights from Capitol Hill, held each other when they cried, fed each other Dunkin’ Donuts when they were too tired to stand. Friends who stand here today to sing about everything they were terrified of and have since lived while simultaneously helping to raise my 2 month old child. Tonight, you see a group of people who know that they are not perfect, but are brave enough to share their souls and dreams in the hope of changing the world. They have, most certainly, found their voices and I could not be more proud to know them or to have the privilege to lead them. It has been a true honor to witness them blossom over these past few months despite all odds, and I hope you enjoy and appreciate the honesty and love that they share with you today. If this is our future, then bring on tomorrow. We may not be ‘totally f***d’ after all.
“Peace and joy with them. Harmony and wisdom.”