Deaf West’s ‘Spring Awakening’ is closing on Broadway, but national tour is planned


Deaf West’s revival of the musical “Spring Awakening” is closing Sunday at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre after more than 130 performances on Broadway.

“Spring Awakening” is based on the 1891 German Expressionist play by Frank Wedekind, originally adapted for Broadway in 2006 with music by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik. The angsty, sexually charged story juxtaposed the 19th-century setting with a modern rock-pop score that touched on abortion, homosexuality, child abuse and suicide. It won eight Tonys, including best musical.

The acclaimed Deaf West revival, directed by Michael Arden, is performed by deaf and hearing actors who blend sign language and song. A fall 2014 run at Inner-City Arts in Los Angeles was followed by a 2015 production at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.


“The production has a youthful ensemble vigor that reanimates the joyful sense of discovery while recalling the anxiety, sorrow and disillusionment that are every bit as much a part of growing up,” Times theater critic Charles McNulty said in his review of the Wallis show. “Deaf West’s admirable inclusiveness seduces us through its artfulness.”

The musical began previews in New York on Sept. 8 and opened on Sept. 27.

Members of the Broadway cast, including Oscar- and Golden Globe-winner Marlee Matlin and Emmy- and Golden Globe-winner Camryn Manheim, performed songs from the musical at the White House this fall, as part of “The White House Convening on Americans with Disabilities and the Arts: A Celebration of Diversity and Inclusion.” The event marked the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Producers have announced plans for a national tour in 2017 but declined to reveal more details Thursday.

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