Menlo School stages Broadway hit Spring Awakening

by Jill Kasser on November 16, 2011

Menlo School is presenting Spring Awakening, a hard-hitting, cutting-edge rock/pop show, on November 17-20, 2011. Based on an 1891 story of a repressed, rural German community and the sorrows, joys and exhilaration of its teenagers, Spring Awakening explores teen discovery, and the angst that accompanies it, in a way that unites the present with the past to create a modern theater phenomenon relevant to today’s audiences.

Spring Awakening opened Off-Broadway in New York City in 2006 and quickly moved to Broadway, where it garnered eight Tony Awards in 2007 including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score. It was hailed as the “Best Musical of the Year” by the New York Times, New York Post, Star Ledger, Journal News, New York Observer and USA Today.

“We feel very fortunate to have received the rights to do this unforgettably haunting musical, which celebrates the archetypal journey from youth to adulthood with power, poignancy, and passion,” explains Director Beth Orr. “I don’t know of any other high school that has put on this show. We believe the musical delivers an important look at difficult adolescent subjects, but that the audience will leave believing in the power of its ultimately hopeful, transcendent message.”

Although Spring Awakening presents knotty themes and at times tragic situations, the musical is an opportunity to facilitate what might historically be difficult discussions between parents and their children. This uniquely original musical, with its vibrant, emotional and occasionally racy lyrics, calls on parents to inform their children that the adolescent emotions and experiences they face are a normal part of life and growing up.

Director Orr adds:  “It’s a show about teenagers wanting to make connections, wanting to live lives of importance and significance. When they make a mistake or see no alternatives, then disaster can occur. The same is true today. Particularly when the stresses of life intensify, without understanding and compassion from the adults in their world, young lives can be adversely impacted.”

The musical will be presented at 7:30 Nov. 17-20 with an additional matinee show on Nov. 19 at 2:00 pm in the Florence Moore Theater on the Menlo campus. Tickets – $8 for students and $10 for adults – are available at the Menlo School bookstore, at the door, or by emailing

Please be advised that the musical contains mature themes and language and while care has been taken to make it suitable for teenage audiences, parental discretion is advised for younger audiences.

Photo by Paul Gralen, showing standing, left to right, Brett Caplan (Sr. of San Mateo), Andrew Klingelhofer (Sr. of Redwood City), John Welch (Jr. of Atherton); seated, Christina Dong (Jr. of Menlo Park), Katie Lannin (Sr. of Portola Valley).

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