About 15 years ago, my family and I were was visiting my sister in New York City. Whenever we came to the city, we were lucky enough to see a Broadway show. The show that we saw during that trip was a brand new musical called Spring Awakening, which was playing at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. I even got to see the original cast, which included Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff (Tony Nomination), and a Tony winning performance from John Gallagher Jr. The musical also took home seven other Tony’s, including Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (Michael Mayer), Best Book of a Musical (Steven Sater), Best Original Score (Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater), Best Choreography (Bill T. Jones), Best Orchestrations (Duncan Sheik), Best Lighting Design (Kevin Adams). The musical was also nominated for Scenic Design (Christie Jones) & Costume Design (Susan Hilferty).
I didn’t fully understand what I was getting myself into at the time, but little did I know that this would be one of my favorite musicals of all time.
Fast forward almost a decade later, the Spring Awakening Revival hit Broadway. I could write a thesis on that production, but I’ll sum it up by saying it was a bonafide masterpiece.
Anyway, let’s get to TODAY. I just watched Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known, and it felt like I was back at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in 2007. Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known was a one-night-only reunion concert to benefit The Actors Fund, and my goodness, what a night it was. The HBO documentary was directed by Michael John Warren and produced by RadicalMedia.
The Reunion Concert was recorded and included interviews with the original cast and crew. They also seamlessly intertwined footage from the original production. One of my favorite moments of the documentary was getting to see the beautiful relationship between Groff and Michele. I knew they formed their relationship during the original production, but getting to hear the details of how the relationship formed, was truly moving.
Another beautiful moment was when “Mama Who Bore Me” started. For a second, I forgot that I wasn’t there in person, I felt like I was in the audience, clapping and cheering on this beautiful work of art.
If you are able to, watch Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known as soon as you can. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll jump up and down, you’ll sing, you’ll feel every emotion possible. This is a documentary that I’ll continue to watch for years to come.