Spring Awakening: 2009 – #Lyric125
In celebration of our 125th birthday, we’re looking back at some of the people and work that have made us who we are today –
Originally produced on Broadway the first London production of Spring Awakening opened at the Lyric on 23 January 2009. After sell out shows, the hit show transferred to the Novello Theatre on the 21 March 2009, going on to win four Olivier Awards including Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical for Aneurin Barnard, Best Supporting Performance in a Musical for Iwan Rheon and Best Sound Design for Brian Ronan.
Based on the 1891 play by Frank Wedekind, with music and orchestrations by Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Steven Sater . The original Broadway creative team, including director Michael Mayer and choreographers Bill T. Jones and Kimberly Grigsby, came over to work with the Lyric to create the London production. The set design was by Christine Jones, costume design by Susan Hilfrey, lighting design by Kevins Adams, sound design by Brian Ronan and casting by Pippa Ailion CDG.
It took a yearlong casting search and a series of workshops to find the young cast, many of whom were making their professional stage debut. The cast included Aneurin Barnard, Lucy Barker, Natasha Barnes, Chris Barton, Jamie Blackley, Hayley Gallivan, Natalie Garner, Mona Goodwin, Evelyn Hoskins, Edd Judge, Harry McEntire, Jamie Muscato, Gemma O’Duffy, Iwan Rheon, Jos Slovick, Richard Southgate and Charlotte Wakefield. With the adult roles played by Sian Thomas and Richard Cordery.
Charles Spencer for the Telegraph in 2009: ‘Here it is at last, the answer to one’s prayers – a new musical bursting with ambition and achievement… It’s a blast.’ ★★★★★
Aneurin Barnard played ‘Melchoir’:
‘Spring Awakening and the Lyric Theatre was the greatest large stepping stone I was gifted with at the beginning of my career. It was the warmest, most creatively cosy theatre to work in. I miss it very much still, even now a decade later. I had the privilege of leading a great show with insanely talented colourful people. It was a joy from beginning to end and I will never forget the theatre and people I was lucky enough to work with.’
Natasha Barnes played ‘Anna’:
‘The Lyric was my first professional theatre. I was so proud of my performers lanyard, of my dressing room space and my daily commute to the building. I remember Spring Awakening as a haze of meeting people. The team front of house and the technical staff behind seemed to buzz with as much excitement as our young company. I want to thank you Lyric, for the gift of the stage and the audiences but also for exiting the theatre straight into the foyer – often into a frenzy of adolescent and adult excitement alike – it was a magical time I have yet to re-capture since.’
Sian Thomas played ‘The Adult Women’:
‘It was overall an extraordinary experience really. It was quite a unique feeling being one of the only two mature adults in a large company of very young performers – all between the ages of 16 – 20.
Their sheer energy and exuberance was amazing and infectious… and their dedication and talent were awesome. At times I felt incredibly old – being in my early fifties – and at other times incredibly young as I was constantly catching their enthusiasm and passion and consequently being carried along on a wave of their energy and elation.
It was so wonderful to be in a production where there appeared to be no cynicism, mainly because of the cast’s extreme youth and innocent optimism – and hunger for hard work. It was actually a real lesson – and a huge privilege – to be there right at the beginning of most of their careers, some of whom went on to do really marvellous extraordinary things.
The tension + nerves were electric on that opening night I remember… and the sheer euphoria after the show was ecstatic! I felt for a short while that I had been in a sweet sunlit land where the sky was a brilliant blue, and where the first grey storm clouds had yet to appear….
I don’t think I’ve ever been in a show either, where the relationship between the cast + the audience was so close, and the collective sense of belonging and ‘owning’ the show was so strong, from that first crazy night at the Lyric – to the last incredibly moving and thrilling night – tragically only a few months later in the West End.’