East West Players (EWP), one of the nation’s oldest theaters of color and the largest producer of Asian American theatrical works announces the extension of the Tony Award winning best musical Spring Awakening. Based on the play by Frank Wedekind, Spring Awakening features book & lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik. Directed by EWP Artistic Director Emeritus Tim Dang, this currently running production originally set to close November 19 will now perform through December 3, 2023.
Spring Awakening is the revolutionary Tony Award winning best musical that took the world by storm. In 1891 Germany, repressed, adolescent students stumble into adulthood as clumsily as they do into each other’s arms. With obstinate parents unwilling to guide them, young Melchior and Wendla explore their desires for each other, while Melchior’s dear friend Moritz fumbles dangerously through his own coming-of-age. This generation-defining musical is a rock anthem to all the “guilty ones,” poignantly exploring the dark, passionate, and twisting journey from adolescence to adulthood.
Of this production, director Tim Dang shares “Our casting is more intentional than colorblind. This production emphasizes the intersectionality of our youth today. Our casting is race conscious and race specific. By 2042, America is projected to be majority POC (people of color). It is with intention that many of our performers are of mixed heritage, mixed-race, bi-racial, hapa, or bi-cultural. These performers represent the youth of a generation that is already majority POC. The balance of power shifting to the new majority makes EWP’s production of Spring Awakening that much more different from other productions that have come before us.”
East West Players production is timely and provocative with a youthful, diverse, Gen Z cast that is electrifying. Standout performances come from Mia Sempertegui as Wendla Bergmann with a beautiful, crystal clear voice and an utterly charismatic Thomas Winter as Melchior Gabor. Marcus Phillips as Moritz Stiefel is a young actor to watch and his rendition of “Don’t Do Sadness” breaks your heart.
In addition to the previously scheduled performances of Spring Awakening, East West Players adds the following performances to the production’s run:
Monday, November 20 at 8pm
Friday, November 24 at 8pm
Saturday, November 25 at 2pm
Saturday, November 25 at 8pm
Sunday, November 26 at 5pm
Thursday, November 30 at 8pm
Friday, December 1 at 8pm
Saturday, December 2 at 2pm
Saturday, December 2 at 8pm
Sunday, December 3 at 5pm
Tickets may be purchased online at eastwestplayers.org or by calling (213) 625-7000.
During Spring Awakening’s extension from Monday, November 20 through Sunday December 3, Jaylen Baham* will assume the leading role of Moritz Stiefel. Baham currently performs the role of Georg Zirschnitz in the ensemble in addition to understudying the role of Moritz Stiefel, which will be performed by Marcus Phillips* through November 19. CJ Cruz, an understudy for the production, will perform the role of Georg Zirschnitz during the production’s extension.
The cast of Spring Awakening currently comprises Mia Sempertegui* (Sister Act, Beehive: The 60’s Musical) as Wendla Bergmann, Thomas Winter* (The Secret Garden, The Last Five Years) as Melchior Gabor, Marcus Phillips* (The Prom Nat’l Tour, La Mirada Theatre’s Joseph… Technicolor Dreamcoat) as Moritz Stiefel, Madison Grepo* (Evita, Anything Goes) as Ilse Neumann, Tamlyn Tomita* (Joy Luck Club, The Karate Kid Part II) as the Adult Women, Daniel Blinkoff* (South Coast Repertory’s A Christmas Carol) as the Adult Men, Jaylen Baham* (Chance Theater’s Next to Normal & Ride the Cyclone, In the Heights) as Georg Zirschnitz, James Everts* (Newsies, Legally Blonde) as Otto Lämmermeier, Genki Hall (Evita, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown) as Ernst Röbel, Sarah Marie Hernandez* (Lizzie: The Musical, Spring Awakening, Songs for a New World) as Martha Bessell, Justine Rafael* (EWP’s On This Side of the World, Paris Las Vegas’ Bat Out Of Hell) as Thea, Eric Renna* (A Chorus Line, Next to Normal, West Side Story) as Hänschen Rilow, and Leianna Weaver* (Musical Theatre West’s The Wizard of Oz) as Anna.
CJ Cruz (1660 Vine) and Evan Pascual (Little Shop of Horrors, Sister Act) currently understudy this production, along with Kay Sibal (The Wallis’ Invincible: The Musical, Shakespeare Center Los Angeles & After Hours Theatre Company’s The Tempest: An Immersive Experience) who also is the production’s Assistant Music Director.
The creative team includes direction by Tim Dang, assistant direction by Tyree Marshall, music direction by Marc Macalintal, choreography by Preston Mui, fight direction by Cesar Cipriano, intimacy coordination by Carly DW Bones, dramaturgy by Arnab Banerji, PhD, scenic design by Christopher Scott Murillo, properties design by Glenn Michael Baker, costume design by JoJo Siu, hair & makeup design by Gillian Woodson, lighting design by Derek Jones, sound design by Cricket Myers, and stage management by Brandon Hong Cheng*.
All performances of Spring Awakening are presented at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center of the Arts at 120 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 in Little Tokyo. Spring Awakening performs now through December 3. Performance times Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays are at 8pm, with additional 2 PM matinees on Saturday and 5pm performances on Sunday. Ticket prices range from $39 to $69. A Queer Affinity Night performance is scheduled for Friday, November 17 at 8pm. An ASL interpreted performance, featuring interpretation provided by Pro Bono ASL is scheduled for Saturday, November 18 at 8pm.
Tickets may be purchased online at eastwestplayers.org or by calling (213) 625-7000. At time of purchase please mention any wheelchair/accessible seating needs. Student, senior, and group discounts are available. Dates, details, and ticket prices are subject to change. Box office is available 11AM – 5PM, Monday-Friday, as well as ninety minutes before all performances.
Spring Awakening is not recommended for audience members under the age of 13. Please be advised that this production contains strobe lights, flashes of light, theatrical haze, and loud music. Spring Awakening contains mentions of abortion, verbal and sexual abuse, as well as depictions of suicide, partial nudity, and sexual content. For any questions on the content of the production, please contact the box office at email@example.com.
EWP has implemented numerous COVID-19 safety protocols to ensure that artists and audience members are able to safely enjoy their experience. For more information, please visit eastwestplayers.org.
About East West Players
East West Players (EWP), the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work, was founded in 1965, at a time when Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (APIs) faced limited or no opportunities to see their experiences reflected outside of stereotypical and demeaning caricatures in the American landscape. EWP not only ensures that API stories are told, but works to increase access, inclusion, and representation in entertainment and media. Learn more at eastwestplayers.org.