The Coterie will launch its 34th season of live theatre on September 8 with the pop rock musical Spring Awakening, the winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical. The show will feature a cast of powerful, young musical theatre performers from the Kansas City area and can be seen in a series of evening shows and Saturday matinees. Spring Awakening is based on the 1891 play of the same name by German playwright Frank Wedekind and explores what has changed-and what hasn't-on the path to understanding sex.
A story of first love and lasting regrets, Spring Awakening is set both "then" and "now"-with book and lyrics by Steven Sater, overlayed with an affecting rock score by 90's music icon Duncan Sheik and raging choreography. The show follows a magnetic young cast as they try to gather the knowledge necessary to keep up with the rapidly changing world around them-navigating abuse, crushes, suicide, sex and some very maturing circumstances.
"Spring Awakening is an exciting project for The Coterie in many ways," said director Jeff Church (who also serves as Producing Artistic Director of The Coterie). "It's a perfect fit to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Coterie's Dramatic Health Education Project (DHEP) by performing this show. The uniting theme is arming teenagers with the information they need to face the pressures of the modern world."
DHEP focuses on STD and HIV/AIDS prevention to area schools free of charge. The project, now 20 years old, is a joint effort by The Coterie, the KU School of Nursing and the UMKC Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy. Highly lauded for its effectiveness and balanced message, DHEP serves an estimated 8,000 students across the metro area annually. Teams of actors and young medical professionals present true stories of HIV positive teens in the Kansas City area and discuss the myths and realities of transmission and prevention. DHEP's community presence will be featured in an eight-minute documentary shown before each performance of Spring Awakening created by KU graduate filmmaker Rebecca Basaure.
"The Dramatic Health Education Project is one of the things I'm most proud of during my time at The Coterie," said Executive Director Joette Pelster. "We strive not only to entertain, but also to inform and inspire young audiences with so many of our main stage performances. I'm glad that we finally have an opportunity to highlight this life-saving program."
The cast for The Coterie's unique arena staging of Spring Awakening includes many of Kansas City's most promising young professional actors, including: Kristen May Altoro, Will Amato, Shea Coffman, Caroline Drage, Tyler Eisenreich, Steven Eubank, Shelby Floyd, Adam Henry, Justin Kirk, Daria LeGrand, Linnaia McKenzie, Emily Shackelford, Hughston Walkinshaw, Noah Whitmore and Shelley Wyche. Spring Awakening is a part of the Coterie At Night series and is funded in part by the Missouri Arts Council (MAC) and the ArtsKC Fund.
The show runs September 6-30 at The Coterie, located on level one of Kansas City's Crown Center Shops. To purchase tickets, visit www.coterietheatre.org. Due mature content, including sexual topics and situations, Spring Awakening will be open only to audiences age 13 or older.