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Youth In Revolt

5th Wall Productions starts its fourth season with Spring Awakening


August 2, 2017
From Staff Reports

5th Wall Productions opens their fourth season with the Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening (book and lyrics by Steven Sater, music by Duncan Sheik). The production, which opens August 11, may be the West Ashley-based theatre company’s most ambitious project to date.

“Some people who are familiar with the scope of the show and the size of our venue have definitely wondered if we’re crazy,” says artistic director Blair Cadden. “It’s a big cast and an incredibly high-energy show. We’re using every single inch of available space — we have actors literally climbing the walls. But I think it serves the piece to be performed in such an intimate setting. It’s in your face. There’s nowhere to hide.”

Spring Awakening is based on a 19th century play by German playwright Frank Wedekind. The musical version gets some serious updates in the form of a hard-hitting rock score, but the plot remains much the same. It also remains all too relevant.

“The story of Spring Awakening is the story of young people being kept in the dark about their own bodies and their own desires. Wendla, one of our central characters, starts the play by asking her mother where babies come from, and she doesn’t get any real answers,” explains Cadden. “When she later starts her own exploration, armed with absolutely no real information, the results are as disastrous as you might expect. And while we might want to pretend we’ve come a long way since Wedekind was writing in the 1890s, in a lot of ways we haven’t come far enough.”

5th Wall’s production incorporates a twist of ’90s punk rock style, drawing on the shared ethos of Spring Awakening and the punk rock movement: young people completely fed up with society’s rules, using music to speak their minds. The show features a dynamic cast of young performers, with two veteran Charleston actors portraying the various adult figures.  At the helm are director Cadden, music director Kevin Thorne, and award-winning choreographer Jill Williams.

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