FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Sarah Snyder
College Park, MD— Five-time Tony Award-winning lighting designer Brian MacDevitt and internationally acclaimed choreographers Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig direct Spring Awakening, the multi-layered rock musical that explores the coming-of-age of a group of teenagers living in a 19th century German village, February 28- March 8 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Based on Frank Wedekind’s 1891 controversial play of the same title, Spring Awakening epitomizes the struggle between repressive patriarchy and the purity of nature and delves deep into issues surrounding abuse, pregnancy, sexuality and suicide- all subjects relevant to contemporary life.
Spring Awakening features books and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik. The performance is presented by the UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS), with musical direction by William Yanesh.
About the TDPS Presentation of Spring Awakening
According to dramaturg Jeff Kaplan, a TDPS doctoral student, “Spring Awakening challenges traditional boundaries, both thematically and artistically. Our production of the Sater/Sheik musical welcomes these challenges as a commitment to the interdisciplinary mission of the University of Maryland’s School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. At its best, collaboration creates a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. But collaboration also requires a considerable willingness to share in the process of art-making, an imperative which all members of this production embraced wholeheartedly.”
Exemplifying this collaborative spirit, MacDevitt helped with choreographic decisions while Pearson and Widrig assisted in script analysis and vocal casting. Dancers act; actors dance. With the directors’ mentorship, the dancers even created much of their own movement over the course of a semester-long workshop.
MacDevitt, Pearson and Widrig all agree, “Our journey of creating this production has been one of mutual openness and trust in the quest for honesty and wonder, a true collaboration.”
About Brian MacDevitt, Director
Brian MacDevitt is associate director of lighting design at UMD. He designed the revival of Death of a Salesman directed by Mike Nichols starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mountaintop with Samuel Jackson and Angela Bassett, and Chinglish on Broadway; and Enchanted Island at the MET Opera, Sucker Punch at the Studio in DC and The Maryland Opera Studio’s Miss Havisham’s Fire and Postcards from Morocco. Last season he designed The Book of Mormon and received his fifth Tony Award for Best Lighting. He is presently preparing National tours and the London production of The Book of Mormon. Professor MacDevitt directed the production of Proof at Theater Three in New York that opened in January of 2012.
About Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig, Co-directors and Choreographers
Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig have been TDPS associate professors since 2009 and artistic directors of PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER since 1987. They have gained an international following for their concert stage choreography, site-specific dance installations and community performance projects. They are the recipients of a 2013 Dance Metro DC Award for Outstanding Overall Production in a Large Venue for Take Me With You, which premiered at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in December 2012. Supported by many national and international funding institutions, they have presented “American dance theater at its funniest and most compelling” (NZZ Switzerland) throughout the US, Europe, Latin America, Asia and New Zealand. 2014-15 engagements include a company tour to the Open Look Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, and performances at the Kennedy Center and Dance Place. The company recently received a grant from the Leon Lowenstein Foundation to create a new site-specific work in New York City this summer.
Located on the University of Maryland campus and a part of the College of Arts and Humanities, the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) is a dynamic community of artist-scholars who advance and transform the research and practice of their art forms. The School is committed to collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship. TDPS, the School of Music and Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library share a space within the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, a premier presenting arts venue and collaborative laboratory for professional artists, teachers and students, serving the university and community.
SPRING AWAKENING is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019; Phone: 212-541-4684; Fax: 212-396-4684; www.MTIShows.com.