Less than a decade since it premiered on Broadway, Spring Awakening, thanks to its relatable storyline and electrifying rock score, is already considered one of the bona fide musical theater classics of this century.
Still, it isn’t too soon for the Tony Award-winning show, brilliantly adapted from a 19th century German drama, to get a thoroughly modern twist. That’s just what one of the theater world’s dreamiest and most-talented real-life couples, Michael Arden and Andy Mientus (the pair announced their engagement last summer) have accomplished with their Deaf West Theatre production, opening today in Los Angeles, performed simultaneously in sign language and spoken English.
Arden, a veteran of countless productions including the recent musical adaptation of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and a familiar face to TV and movie audiences and who’s directing the production, notes that the show’s story has resonated with LGBTQ audiences for more than a century.
“From its ahead of its time portrayal of homosexuality to its expose on how suppression and hypocrisy in sexual politics can lead to disaster,” he tells Queerty. “It’s a play that shows us the danger of not telling the truth, which is incredibly relative to the struggles so many LGBTQ youth continue to go through a century after the play was written.”
Mientus, who is perhaps best-known for his role in NBC’s Smash and stars in the production, agrees. He should know, considering his long history with the show.
“Having appeared in the first national tour of the original production, I literally grew up with this show and getting to re-examine it in this groundbreaking new concept, I am further convinced of the power of its message,” Mientus says. “That across time, terrible things happen to innocent people solely because they are denied a voice. It’s a story that resonates deeply with the deaf community, the LGBTQ community, and any community that has felt ignored, suppressed, and silenced unfairly.”
So You Think You Can Dance‘s Spencer Liff choregraphed the production, which opens tonight at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. Get your tickets here. Enjoy the show’s trailer below.
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