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A ground-breaking new production of the beloved musical performed simultaneously in Spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL). Read more

Los Angeles, CA Musical
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on August 20, 2014.

A ground-breaking new production of the beloved musical performed simultaneously in Spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL).

Los Angeles, CA Musical
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Deaf West Theatre
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Deaf West Theatre

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About this project

UPDATE (AUGUST 13): 

Today, we met our initial goal of $25,000!

Thank you so much for the outpouring of support, which will make this amazing version of Spring Awakening possible! Pledges came in from all corners of the world, and we’re deeply grateful.

But the good work's not over. We need your help to make this show even better.

We’re committed to making this show a sensory and visual experience, and Brent Stewart, our Projection Designer, has developed amazing animated background projections that will enhance the beauty of the story.

Any additional funds realized past our goal will go towards enhancing the visual qualities of the production and help us ensure the standard that Deaf West Theatre productions have become known for. We have six days left to go, and we are grateful to you for spreading the word about this Kickstarter to your friends and family.

New push goal: We'll distribute limited edition door hangers to all pledges of $100 or more if we hit $30,000 before August 20th!

Check out the new pictures of our rehearsal below. We’ve also added a couple of exciting new rewards: a set visit to the hit FX series Anger Management guided by its cast regular Michael Arden, and a backstage tour of the hit Broadway show Les Miserables given by Andy Mientus, who plays Marius in the show. Check the column at the right to grab these limited rewards!

Again, thank you for your support. We have been touched. #touchme

ABOUT:

This bold, new reimagining of the Tony Award winning musical will connect the separate worlds of both the hearing and deaf communities. Created by an extraordinary assemblage of talent including Michael Arden (noted Broadway performer, star of Deaf West's productions of Big River and Pippin, and star of TV’s Anger Management), Spencer Liff (So You Think You Can Dance, Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and the good folks from Deaf West Theatre (Broadway's Big River and The Mark Taper Forum's Pippin), this sensory version of the beloved rock musical is sure to arouse and awaken the Los Angeles theater scene when it opens in September 2014. 

 This is the fifth musical from Deaf West Theatre. The Broadway cast of Big River won a Tony® for Excellence, and we continue to build on that tradition with shows such as Sleeping Beauty Wakes and Pippin.

Jonathan Groff (Glee, Looking, Frozen) and Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect, Ground Floor) are just two of the notable performers who got their start in the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening, and they’re truly excited by our take on the material (see the above video).

OUR STORY:

Andy Mientus (Smash, Broadway's new Les Miserables) another alumnus of the show, along with Michael Arden, Artistic Director of The Forest of Arden, developed the idea of a new SPRING AWAKENING using Deaf West's signature style to punctuate and deepen the musical's themes of communication and oppression. They brought their vision to Deaf West Theatre’s Artistic Director, DJ Kurs and in the summer of 2013, workshopped the musical with an extraordinary group of actors. And what a head rush it turned out to be. The use of sign language and choreography performed by the young cast brought the songs to life in a completely new way. Emboldened by this experience, Deaf West knew it was something audiences had to see. Since then, we've embarked on a year-long quest to bring this to the stage. And now it’s happening.

Here are some pictures of our rehearsals that give you a glimpse of what is to come:

Joshua Castille, Alexandra Winter, Amelia Hensley, and Austin McKenzie
Joshua Castille, Alexandra Winter, Amelia Hensley, and Austin McKenzie
Sandra Mae Frank, Treshelle Edmond, and Ali Stroker
Sandra Mae Frank, Treshelle Edmond, and Ali Stroker
Austin McKenzie
Austin McKenzie
Joey Bellinger, Joshua Castille, Joseph Haro, Austin McKenzie, Daniel N. Durant, and Miles Barbee
Joey Bellinger, Joshua Castille, Joseph Haro, Austin McKenzie, Daniel N. Durant, and Miles Barbee
Michael Arden
Michael Arden

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP: 

We're almost there! The funds raised through this campaign will help us complete our budget and begin rehearsals on this ground-breaking production. 

All of this is a massive undertaking. We have a large cast of 24 deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing actors and musicians. We have to source and rent all of the lighting, stage, and sound elements. This production also has more running expenses than the typical theatre troupe: ASL Masters, sign language interpreters, to name a few. These things add up quickly, and with such a large company, we need your help to bring this to life.

THE SHOW:

SPRING AWAKENING is a rock musical with music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater. It is based on the controversial German play Spring Awakening (1891) by Frank Wedekind which was banned in Germany for some time due to its frank portrayal of abortion, homosexuality, rape, child abuse and suicide. Set in late-19th century Germany, the musical tells the story of teenagers discovering the inner and outer tumult of sexuality.

The original Broadway production won 8 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Direction, Book, Score and Choreography. The production also garnered 4 Drama Desk Awards whilst its original cast album received a Grammy Award. The success of the Broadway production has spawned several other productions worldwide including various US productions, a West End production that won 4 Laurence Olivier Awards including Best Musical, and a series of international productions.

THE ASL/SPOKEN ENGLISH EXPERIENCE:

's video poster
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This above is from 2012's Cyrano, a co-production by DEAF WEST THEATRE which was founded in 1991 to directly improve and enrich the cultural lives of deaf and hard of hearing individuals who live in the Los Angeles area. Deaf West Theatre consistently sets the standard of innovation for inclusive theatrical experiences of the highest quality for deaf and hearing audiences. Productions feature deaf and hearing actors working together to tell stories in a seamless ballet of movement, American Sign Language and spoken - or sung - English. Our Tony Award-winning musical take on Big River and our co-productions of Sleeping Beauty Wakes and Pippin with the Center Theatre Group have gained great acclaim. Website

WHO IS INVOLVED:

DEAF WEST THEATRE was founded in 1991 to directly improve and enrich the cultural lives of deaf and hard of hearing individuals who live in the Los Angeles area. Deaf West Theatre consistently sets the standard of innovation for inclusive theatrical experiences of the highest quality for deaf and hearing audiences. Productions feature deaf and hearing actors working together to tell stories in a seamless ballet of movement, American Sign Language and spoken - or sung - English.

THE FOREST OF ARDEN is a collective of artists, designers, actors and writers who strive to create immersive, imaginative and provocative theatrical experiences in Los Angeles, California and beyond, with an emphasis on site-specific work. Their critically acclaimed production of La Ronde is currently being developed into a feature film.

MICHAEL ARDEN (Direction) is an actor, writer and director whose work has been seen on Broadway, the West End, in feature films and television as well as around the world in live concerts. Michael trained in Drama at the Juilliard School in New York City and is a Presidential Scholar in the Arts as well as a recipient of the Tony Honor for Excellence in Theater.

SPENCER LIFF (Choreography) has served as choreographer for the last 5 seasons on the hit FOX TV series “So You Think You Can Dance”. His work on the show earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Choreography in 2012. In 2013 Spencer choreographed the Emmy Awards starring Neil Patrick Harris. Other TV choreography credits include Dancing with the Stars, How I Met Your Mother, Parks and Recreation, 2 Broke Girls, Mike and Molly, and the upcoming MTV series Happyland. His stage credits include Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway and Sleepless in Seattle at Pasadena Playhouse.

SHOSHANNAH STERN, ANTHONY NATALE, AND ELIZABETH GREENE (ASL Masters) are all veterans of Deaf West Theatre. Elizabeth Greene, a singer and actress, has been involved with Deaf West Theatre since its early days. Anthony Natale currently stars on Switched at Birth and is known as a performer, presenter, and actor. Shoshannah Stern (The Hammer, Adventures of Power) starred in Deaf West's productions of Open Window and Children of a Lesser God

JARED STEIN (Musical Direction) is thrilled to return to Spring Awakening after having conducted the First National Tour. His other credits as music director include the National Tours of Rent, Hair, and American Idiot, as well as the Broadway productions of American Idiot and Hair. He continues to serve as Music Supervisor for the current tour of American Idiot. 

DANE LAFFREY (Scenic and Costume Design) is a New York based set and costume designer whose recent credits include: set and/or costumes for world premieres of THE TALLS (Second Stage), David Greenspan's adaptation of THE PATSY (Transport Group), THE OTHER PLACE (MCC Theatre), Larry Keigwin's EXIT and 12 CHAIRS (The Joyce Theater), TIGERS BE STILL (Roundabout), WHIDA PERU: RESURRECTION TANGLE (Primary Stages / Premieres), GIANT (Signature), SIXTY MILES TO SILVER LAKE (SoHo Rep / P73). www.danelaffrey.com

CHRISTOPHER SCOTT MURILLO (Scenic and Costume Design)  has designed sets throughout the Southern CA area and in New York. Selected Theater Design Credits Include: At East West Players: BEJING SPRING, STEEL MAGNOLIAS. At Playwrights’ Arena: CINNAMON GIRL, DALLAS NON-STOP At Chance Theater: LYSISTRATA JONES, BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON, THE WHO’S TOMMY. Film Consulting & Decor Credits: The 86th Academy Awards, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Orange County Reunion Specials. www.christopherscottmurillo.com

TRAVIS HAGENBUCH (Lighting Design) is a Lighting Designer specializing in live events. Credits include Lighting Direction for the Tony, Grammy, Golden Globe, Country Music, American Music, Billboard Music and Academy Awards Ceremonies, The Kennedy Center Honors, The 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions, The Vancouver 2010 Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Conan, and The Queen Latifah Show. Theatrical Design includes La Ronde with Forest of Arden and several productions in the For The Record Series at Rockwell, City Winery, and SXSW. He has received three Primetime Emmy Awards: two for the Grammy Awards and another for the Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremony. BFA in Theater Design from CCM.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Choose a reward in the right column of this page.
  • Tell everyone you got a reward, through Facebook, Twitter and email.

Thank you for your support! We can't wait to share this with you and our audiences.

SPRING AWAKENING produced by Deaf West Theatre, Artistic Director, DJ Kurs

in association with The Forest of Arden

Music by Duncan Sheik
Book and Lyrics by Steven Sater
Based on the play by Frank Wedekind
Directed by Michael Arden Choreographed by Spencer Liff 

Starring: JOEY ANTONIO, MILES BARBEE, JIMMY BELLINGER, KATIE BOECK, JOSHUA CASTILLE, JULIAN COMEAU, DANIEL DURANT, TRESHELLE EDMOND, MAX FISHMAN, SANDRA MAE FRANK, KATHRYN GALLAGHER, GABRIELLE GARZA, SEAN GRANDILLO, KARLA GUTIERREZ, JOSEPH HARO, AMELIA HENSLEY,  TROY KOTSUR, AUSTIN MCKENZIE, DANIEL MARMION, LAUREN PATTEN, NATASCHA ROI, RUSTIN COLE SAILORS, DANIEL STEWART, ALI STROKER, and ALEXANDRA WINTER

Produced by: DJ Kurs, Christopher Sepulveda and Ann E. Wareham

Risks and challenges

Producing a musical is financially difficult. When adding the exciting challenge of merging two languages and cultures into one evening of theatre, there are certain financial obstacles that reveal themselves, above and beyond that of conventional theatre, let alone immersive theatre. SPACE, INTERPRETERS, ASL COACHES, MUSICIANS, ACTORS, PERIOD COSTUMES, SCENIC ELEMENTS, and SOUND AND LIGHTING EQUIPMENT require a certain budget. We need your help in making this dream a reality for the incredible artists and audiences who might not always have an opportunity to create stimulating and inclusive work or attend it.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    46 backers

    Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    74 backers

    Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation as well as recognition of your support on Twitter at @deafawakening, in the SPRING AWAKENING program, and website.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    34 backers

    Recognition of your support on Twitter, in the SPRING AWAKENING program and website as well as a electronic .jpg of an original artwork by artist Liz Huston created especially for this production.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    23 backers

    You will receive an invitation to an exclusive rehearsal of SPRING AWAKENING in Los Angeles during the last week of August and a DVD copy of the acclaimed documentary about Deaf West Theatre, "Our Hands Are Louder", as well as the aforementioned rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    11 backers Limited (39 left of 50)

    You will receive a VIP seat to a special exclusive Friends and Family performance of SPRING AWAKENING on September 11, 2014 in Los Angeles, as well as the aforementioned rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    13 backers

    You will receive a VIP seat to any performance of SPRING AWAKENING, as well as the aforementioned rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    7 backers Limited (1 left of 8)

    A SPRING FLING! Bring a total of FOUR guests to a VIP seat to a special Exclusive Friends and Family performance of SPRING AWAKENING on September 11, 2014. Special thanks in the program and TWO SIGNED POSTERS. You will also receive a private ASL LESSON with one of our Sign Masters in addition to the aforementioned rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    7 backers

    A SPRING FLING, PART TWO! Bring a total of FOUR guests to VIP seats to any performance of SPRING AWAKENING. Special thanks in the program and TWO SIGNED POSTERS. You will also receive a private ASL LESSON with one of our Sign Masters in addition to the aforementioned rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $750 or more

    5 backers Limited (3 left of 8)

    It's a DATE. TWO TICKETS to a performance of SPRING AWAKENING on a date of your choosing and an intimate coffee-date with director Michael Arden and members of the cast/creative team. Special thanks in the program and TWO SIGNED POSTERS and private ASL LESSON with one of our Sign Masters.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $750 or more

    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    Receive a fully guided set visit to “Anger Management”, the hit FX comedy, in Los Angeles from cast regular and “Spring Awakening” director Michael Arden. To be scheduled at a mutually agreeable date.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $750 or more

    1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)

    $750
    Receive a fully guided backstage visit to the hit Broadway show “Les Miserables” in New York City from Andy Mientus, who features as Marius in the show and co-originated Deaf West’s “Spring Awakening” production. To be scheduled before December 2014.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    4 backers Limited (1 left of 5)

    It's a PARTY! Bring a total of EIGHT guests to a performance of SPRING AWAKENING and enjoy a special MEET-AND-GREET AFTER-SHOW PARTY with members of the company. Special thanks in the program and TWO SIGNED POSTERS as well as a private ASL LESSON with one of our Sign Masters.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers

    As a sign of our utmost appreciation you will receive VERY SPECIAL THANKS in your program, and get a SMALL ROLE in an actual performance of SPRING AWAKENING. You will also get TWO TICKETS, so you can invite that agent you've always wanted to see you perform!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    0 backers

    You will receive a command performance of SPRING AWAKENING for you and all your friends.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)