This week, Theatre Glendon’s production of Spring Awakening hit the stage! Spring Awakening is a rock musical with music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater. It’s based on the German play Spring Awakening (1891) by Frank Wedekind. Set in late-19th century Germany, the musical tells the story of teenagers discovering the inner and outer tumult of sexuality.
Let me just start off by saying, Spring Awakening is one of my all time favourite musicals. I was introduced to the show in High School when we sang I Believe for Jazz Choir. I fell in love with the song, started listening to the soundtrack and found a bootleg version of the original production with Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff on YouTube. The rest, as they say, is history. When I heard that Theatre Glendon was doing a production of the show, and my friend Ritchie was part of it, I was excited.
I got to see the show on Tuesday, an advanced viewing for groups that were promoting the show. When I arrived at the theatre, many members of all of the invited teams were present. As I read the programme, I realized that I knew most of the people involved with the production, which made me even more excited for the show to start. The lights dimmed, the violin started and Wendla came on to stage. The moment the first note left her mouth was breathtaking. I admit, I teared up. The casting choices were outstanding. The actors and actresses had the passion, both in their singing and speaking voices, that really made the characters come alive. Throughout the entire show I was either laughing, crying, had shivers from their beautiful voices, or had a combination of the three.
After the show, I caught up with Gillian Murphy aka Director Extraordinaire, and Alexander Ritchie aka Moritz Stiefel to ask them some questions about Theatre Glendon so I could share some insights with you.
- How was spring awakening chosen as the show for this year?
Gillian: The show was suggested for the 2013/2014 season, but was not chosen in the end. When I was in Scotland on my internship, I didn’t have any creative outlets and while listening to the Spring Awakening soundtrack I decided that it would be fun to make a plan on how I would direct the show. I realized that it was a completely do-able show for LionHeart Productions and I felt that the themes and messages that are at the core of the show would be a great fit for the Glendon community. When the LionHeart Productions Executive team held their Pitch Meeting, I put forward my proposal for the show. Out of all the pitches, they chose mine and we just went from there.
- What’s was your favourite part about directing/being in the show?
Gillian: I really love art and I believe that everyone is an artist at heart. Just the whole act of the cast and crew coming together and creating art is what made the process so special for me.
Ritchie: My favourite part about being in the show is getting to rehearse and perform with such a great and talented cast and crew, it was really such a wonderful group of people who worked on the show and the best part is getting to spend so much time together
- How much time did you spend working on the show? Did it conflict with your school or work commitments?
Gillian: I’ve been working on the show since early October when the administrative process began, booking the space, getting the permissions to perform the show and auditions. We’ve been working as a full team since late November, which is a huge credit to them. I feel like it really shows the talent of the team for being able to bring the show together in such a short period of time.
I’m not really good at balancing stuff, like most people, I like doing the fun stuff, the art. Thankfully, My don team was amazing and really picked up the slack for me. For academics, there was a lot of last minute things that happened, but being in my last year, I’ve figured out the tricks to get good marks so my grades aren’t suffering!
Ritchie: We spent a lot of time on the show especially in January, Chrissy, our stage manager, spent a lot of time making rehearsals work with our schedules, but it always gets a little difficult to keep up especially as you get closer to show time, I definitely could have spent more down time doing readings
- How did you get involved with Theatre Glendon?
Gillian: I actually came to Glendon as an International Studies Major, but two weeks in, I knew it wasn’t for me. I decided to stick out the year at Glendon and I enrolled in a bunch of Drama Studies classes. Throughout first year, I was preparing to transfer applications to the Ryerson and York (main campus) Theatre Programs. As the year went on, I started to really like the Drama Studies program and I remembered why I chose to come to Glendon. I now work in the theatre and I feel that the theatre is my home.
Ritchie: I had always wanted to do Theatre Glendon show, and I knew they were doing Spring Awakening and that the show was a really interesting one, so I guess I just thought it was time to finally audition!
- Do you have any advice to incoming students who want to get involved with Theatre Glendon?
Gillian: TRY EVERYTHING! Theatre Glendon is such a magical place! Don’t be afraid. Go into it with an open mind. Try the backstage, try directing, try acting. Try everything.
Ritchie: Just go for it, this is the first year I did a production with Theatre Glendon, and I wish I had done it earlier. I was always afraid of “oh, it might conflict with school” or “oh, I might not have the time” sometimes it might get a little stressful, but it is so worth it, if I could tell first year me to get involved I definitely would.
Congratulations to the whole cast and crew for a fantastic production. I wish that I could have seen it every day for the whole run. I am so happy that Theatre GL decided to do a production of Spring Awakening! Seeing it was one of the highlights of my year so far.
Song of the Week:
I can’t choose my favourite song from the show, so here’s the opening song and you can listen to the rest of the soundtrack on this youtube channel.
Mama Who Bore Me – Spring Awakening Original Cast (Lea Michele)