'Spring Awakening' Returning to Broadway

Kevin Parry
Deaf West's 'Spring Awakening'

Deaf West Theatre's production of the musical will play a limited engagement in the fall, just six years after the end of the show's premiere run, which won eight Tony Awards.

Turns out "The Bitch of Living" is a hard thing to shake.

Just six years after Spring Awakening ended its successful premiere run on Broadway, the rock musical by composer Duncan Sheik and writer-lyricist Steven Sater is returning this fall.

The acclaimed 2014 production of the show by Deaf West Theatre, which recently completed a return Los Angeles engagement, will transfer to New York for a strictly limited 18-week run at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. It begins previews Sept. 8, with opening night set for Sept. 27.

Based on Frank Wedekind's 1891 German expressionist drama about adolescent unease, rebellion and sexuality, the show will be performed simultaneously in American Sign Language and spoken English by a cast of 27, including both hearing and non-hearing actors. Michael Arden directs, with choreography by Spencer Liff.

Read more Deaf West's 'Spring Awakening': Theater Review

"Spring Awakening is very much about the difficulty that parents and children have with communication," said composer Sheik. "So there's a beautiful metaphor to it being done with this particular set of actors. The musicianship and the vocal performances of the Broadway cast being assembled are second to none, and that combined with the amazing physicality of the signing actors really raises the emotional bar."

Los Angeles-based Deaf West was last represented on Broadway in 2003 with the company's soaring revival of the musical Big River, which received a special Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre. Arden starred in that production as Tom Sawyer.

Read more Duncan Sheik on Deaf West's 'Spring Awakening' and the Movie Adaptation

Following its lauded premiere off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company, the original production of Spring Awakening opened on Broadway in December 2006 and ran for just over two years, launching the careers of a gifted group of young actors that included Jonathan GroffLea MicheleJohn Gallagher Jr. and Skylar Astin.

The show won eight Tony Awards in 2007, including best musical, score, book, direction, choreography and featured actor for Gallagher.

Such a fast turnover between Broadway productions is unusual but not unheard-of. The 1983 musical La Cage aux Folles was revived in 2004 and then opened again just five years later in a pared-down staging from London that went on to win three Tonys. The original run of the 2005 show The Color Purple closed in 2008 and will open again in December in a reimagined production, also from London.

Producers on the Spring Awakening transfer are Ken Davenport, Cody Lassen, Hunter Arnold and Deaf West Theatre.

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