"Spring Awakening," featuring Gallaudet alumni, earns three Tony Award nominations

May 04, 2016

Author: Phil Dignan

Spring Awakening, the Broadway musical revival produced by Deaf West Theatre and involving Gallaudet University alumni and current student Joshua Castille, earned three Tony Award nominations on May 3, 2016: Best Revival of a Musical, Ben Stanton for Best Lighting Design of a Musical, and Michael Arden for Best Direction of a Musical.  

The musical, which held 135 performances in its limited engagement at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York City, featured Gallaudet alumni David J. Kurs, '98 (Deaf West artistic director and producer), and cast members Sandra Mae Frank, '13Amelia Hensley, '13Daniel Durant, E-'14Russell Harvard, '07, and Castille. Marlee Matlin, H-'87, made her Broadway debut in the musical.

A rock musical performed in American Sign Language and English, Spring Awakening is a Romeo and Juliet-modeled coming-of-age story featuring a group of teenagers exploring their morality and sexuality within the repressive culture of late 19th century Germany. It first appeared on Broadway in 2006; Kurs and Arden brought the revival of the musical to Broadway using a deaf and hearing cast.

Arden, who directed Spring Awakening, made his Broadway debut in 2003 with Deaf West's revival of Big River, playing the role of Tom Sawyer. Big River was the first play on Broadway to incorporate ASL and English with a cast of both deaf and hearing performers.  

The 70th annual Tony Awards will air on CBS, Sunday, June 12.