The Beginnings of a Musical: How Spring Awakening Journeyed to Broadway
Steven Sater is an American poet, playwright and lyricist. After graduating from college he moved to New York and started writing pieces which created a lot of hype around his work. Through time, Sater started working with Duncan Sheik, an alternative-rock singer-songwriter. Together, they shared an idea of collaborating in writing a musical. Before this, Sater had read Wedekind’s play Frühlings Erwachen and had a profound love and interest for it. Once he showed the play to Sheik, the pair decided they wanted to take the themes in the play that were still relevant today, and interlace the 1880 German setting with a contemporary rock background.
They then started working and created the 1880 play for a modern audience. From the late 1990’s and through concerts, workshops, and rehearsals, Spring Awakening the Musical opened off-Broadway in May 2006, and opened on Broadway that winter.
The musical ultimately became profoundly different than the play, in its themes. Though the content of the musical comes directly from Wedekind’s play, the difference lies in the hopefulness of Sater’s work compared to Wedekind’s children’s tragedy.