Thursday, December 5, 2013

The production number, "My Junk," went through a  number of changes during the rehearsal period. It started to become a running joke between Chris McCoy (the choreographer), the cast and me during technical rehearsals (which is when we did most of the changes). We explored over five different versions that the cast had to re-rehearse a few days before we opened. Some of the changes were large, some were small, but in the end we found an exciting way to stage and choreograph "My Junk" so it would have the greatest visual impact and a crystal clear narrative.

This kind of change happened often during the rehearsal process of Spring Awakening as it was important to me that the actors and creative team felt that the process was living. I believe that's what makes this production of Spring Awakening so visceral and alert. Because the creative team and I were  constantly exploring and being inspired by the moment, this fearless group of actors jumped into that process and were always open to the changes. Those changes made for stronger moments and awakenings which the audience can now experience.

Stafford Arima
Director/UC Davis Granada Artist-in-Residence

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The way that many of the Spring Awakening actors can connect and relate to the brutality, oppression and experiences of their characters is very ... scary. On one hand, this makes for great theater and human connections in rehearsal; but on the other, it's frightening that what Wedekind wrote about so long ago is still being experienced in an era that most consider to be more socially advanced.

That's why we need to produce Spring Awakening. It brings to light what normally stays behind closed doors, in Pandora's boxes and hidden away as shameful secrets.

Stage managing this show has been such a blessing. The universe must be returning a favor ... or something.

Micaela Cirimeli
Stage Manager

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Spring Awakening pushes the actor to understand more of his or her own sexuality. I don’t mean that in the sense of, “What is my sexual orientation? Do I want to have sex? How many people want me because of my body?” This show explores the beauty in understanding your body. It’s about understanding and accepting oneself. It’s about being comfortable in the skin you are given. And Spring Awakening has helped me grow in being confident in my own skin and body.

My character, Hanschen, uses language as a device for seduction. He is incredibly articulate and loves playing with words in order to get what he wants.

It has been stunning to watch the beautiful vulnerability everybody puts on the stage, but it was difficult for me to reach this point when it came to me in my role. Hanschen kisses another character, and I was nervous about what others would think and how others would react and judge my vulnerability. Yet Stafford and the cast have been nothing but supportive. It’s a blessing to be working with all of these fantastic performers and directors who are pushing for growth.

 Roberto Aguilar (Hanschen)

My favorite scene is the one in which Hanschen woos my character Ernst and they kiss. I've never kissed another guy before, and I was quite nervous at first. After working with both Stafford and Roberto I became much more comfortable with the idea. The rawness of the scene is very truthful and real. It's different, it's exciting, and quite beautiful.

I've had many of my own awakenings throughout the rehearsal process. I never knew I could sing or dance the way I do. I've found parallels with myself and my character (and other characters in the show) and in those parallels I'm learning more about myself.

Spring Awakening is the kind of show that makes me want to do theater for the rest of my life. 

JT Bernhardt (Ernst)



Sunday, November 17, 2013

“The Dark I Know Well” is such a truthful song. The way that this number is blocked, you get to see inside the characters’ heads. The secrets that these characters share with the audience are life-changing and painful.
I’ve been fortunate to work with Chris McCoy before, so I’m familiar with his dance style. I enjoy it when he has to demonstrate particularly “sexy” or “seductive” choreography.
Chris makes the material fun and much less awkward to tackle. His dance moves are always inventive, and he’s open to bouncing ideas off of the cast to see what works best for us.

I have some pretty hard harmonies in a few of the numbers, so I get really excited when I finally nail one and lock it in!
 Rachel Wagner (Ensemble)

I love jumping over the chair twice in "Bitch of Living." This really gets me pumped up. It is my favorite scene because it speaks to everyone who has ever lived and felt negative emotions in some capacity.

"Left Behind" also gets to me because of the scene’s powerful acting. One day, while rehearsing this song during a funeral sequence, Marcos—as Moritz who is supposed to be dead and in the open coffin—snuck up and waved. No one was able to sing properly after that laugh.

After the uncomfortable introduction to the sexual subject matter, we moved through the joking stage where we did nothing but laugh at what we were doing to ourselves. Eventually we accepted what we were doing and came to approach these scenes with grace and professionalism.

The music and the real situations these kids get into speak to me. Emotionally I am tuned in to the ones around me. Physically I'm just starting to get comfortable being me. 

Christian Hebron (Reinhold


I confess that I'm primarily a singer, not an actor, and hence the Spring Awakening music is one of the most important parts of the show for me. 

It creates a medium that allows me to express myself and my character in a way that ordinary dialogue does not. The amalgamation of all the musical instruments and singing of the human voice brings to life and electrifies the production.

The song "Those You've Known" has an extremely moving emotional arch and musically gives me chills. I consider it the culmination of the Spring Awakening message, which is one of resilience, perseverance and hope for better times to come.

“Totally Fucked” is one of the few numbers that I've found difficult because it's such a high-intensity song. It becomes very easy to get carried away and go crazy with the choreography forgetting that you still need to have enough breath to sing. 

Johnny Wylie (Georg)