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Theatre Season Opens with Spring Awakening

Cast of Spring Awakening onstage
Paige Quinlivan, Theatre Publicity and Box Office
Publication date: 
October 26, 2017

The University of Minnesota, Morris Theatre Discipline opens its 2017–18 season with Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's Spring Awakening. This rock musical, based on the play by Frank Wedekind, follows the story of a group of 19th century German teenagers as they face their sexual awakening among a rigid and unaccepting society.

Professor of Theatre Ray Schultz serves as director for this production. "To me, the play is really about wanting to free yourself of the shackles of the previous generation," he says. "This musical and Wedekind's original play really stress the danger of ignorance, especially willful ignorance, which a lot of the adults of the play engage in. Because they choose to keep the children in the play repressed or ignorant of the facts of life, it leads to dire consequences.

Faculty and staff assisting Schultz include Vocal Teaching Specialist Sarah Howes as vocal director and conductor, and Dance Teaching Specialist Stephanie Ferrian as choreographer. Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Lucas Granholm is scenic and lighting designer. Assisting Granholm are Assistant Lighting Designers Alyssa Kraft '19, Oakdale, and Kai Pavus '19, Turnip, and Austin Watson '18, Willmar, as assistant scenic designer and props master. Justin Anderson '18, Rochester, is sound designer, with Wendy Unger '19, Minneapolis, assisting. Costuming is led by Costume Shop Manager Anne Thorson, with assistance from Alyssa Olsen '18, Cloquet. Also helping behind the scenes are Thomas Pederson '18, Alexandria, as assistant to the music director, and Kathryn Rowles-Perich '18, Shoreview & Duluth, as dramaturg, with Bailey Soika '19, Saint Paul, and Hannah Retzer '19, Byron, assisting. Retzer also serves as the fight captain for this production. The Stage Management team is led by Sally Bremer '18, Minnetonka, assisted by Tucker Johnson '20, Fergus Falls, Megan Steblay '20, Ramsey, and Alyssa Mueller '21, Minneapolis.

The production features an 18-student cast led by Rowles-Perich and Evan Aanerud '21, Fergus Falls, as lovers Wendla Bergman and Melchior Gabor. Melchior's troubled best friend, Moritz, is played by Ben Erickson '18, Eyota. Ilse is played by Natalie Walraff '20, Blaine. Mickey Capps '18, Rogers, plays Hanschen, and Ariel Crabtree '20, Chaska, plays Martha. Others include Wyatt Anderson '20, Bloomington, as Ernst; Thomas Pederson as Georg; Shane McKinley '19, Buffalo, as Otto; Seraphim Suprenant '20, Sleepy Eye, as Anna; Katie Booth '20, Shoreview, as Thea; Renee Leeson '20, Forest Lake, as Marianna; Nolan Pewe '21, Bottineau, as Kurt; Zach Swigerd '19, Willmar, and Daniel Stein '19, Saint Paul, as the Adult Men; and Claire McManus '20, Robbinsdale, Caroline Vodacek '19, New Auburn, and Chelsea Young '20, Spring Lake Park, as the Adult Women.

Spring Awakening will run Wednesday–Saturday, November 1–4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Humanities Fine Arts Raymond J. Lammers Proscenium Theatre, with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Tickets ($12 for general admission, $10 for senior citizens, and $8 for students) are available at 320-589-6274 or at Free parking is available in all campus lots.

This production is funded in part by a grant from the Lake Region Arts Council through a Minnesota State Legislative appropriation. Additional generous support has been provided by the University of Minnesota Imagine Fund Annual Faculty Award and the Institute for Advanced Study Research and Creative Collaboratives programs.