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Juniors Kristen Thackery and Brian Dresner sing “The Guilty Ones” at rehearsal Monday night for the Department of Theatre’s “Spring Awakening.” The play was adapted from an 1891 German play which followed a group of teenagers through adolescence.

Ben Kothe/Senior Staff Photographer

MU Theatre Department premieres ‘Spring Awakening’

Provocative musical to debut at Rhynsburger Theatre on Wednesday.

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Wednesday marks the opening night for the Department of Theatre’s four-night run of the rock musical “Spring Awakening.”

This highly-acclaimed Broadway show is somewhat of a deviation from many of MU’s previous productions, especially regarding its controversial subject matter. Adapted from the 1891 German play of the same name, “Spring Awakening” tells the story of a group of teenagers in late-19th century Germany and their personal journey through adolescence.

What makes this show stand out is its refusal to hold back and pull punches with regards to some of the more risqué and controversial topics that tend to be omitted from the standard coming-of-age story.

“The great thing about this show is that it’s so pertinent to our generation, so as a college kid, a lot of the things that we’re going through right now are talked about in the show,” stage manager Emily Hauger says. “Dealing with relationships, figuring out your sexuality, figuring out your place within friend groups and within society in general is really talked about in this show. And more than a lot of the other shows that we’ve done. It’s something college kids can relate to.”

Another distinguishing characteristic of the upcoming production is its modern alt-rock inspired score.

“This is what we’ve grown up with,” Hauger says. “This is a musical of our generation, so the cast just took to it immediately.”

By taking this classic play and setting it to modern music and dialogue, this show takes the universal struggles of sexual discovery and identity and presents them in a way that’s resonant with our generation on multiple levels.

Premiering on Broadway in 2006, “Spring Awakening” was met with critical acclaim across the board. Winning eight Tony Awards, four Drama Desk Awards and a Grammy, this play is established among the Broadway community as a modern classic, being lauded by critics and performed by countless professional theatre companies.

Sexuality, education, maturation, relationships, dealing with authority — pretty much everything that occupies our minds on a daily basis — are being talked about in this show in a way that’s refreshingly candid.

You can see “Spring Awakening” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Rhynsburger Theatre located in the Fine Arts Building, or any of it’s other show times, which run through Sunday. Tickets are $10 for students and $12 for the general public.

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