'Spring Awakening' coming to Northglenn

Updated 1900 play a rallying cry for the disable community

Luke Zarzecki
lzarzecki@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/19/23

The longest-running disability-affirmative theater in the United States will bring its version of the Tony Award-winning play “Spring Awakening” at the Northglenn's Parsons Theatre March …

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'Spring Awakening' coming to Northglenn

Updated 1900 play a rallying cry for the disable community

Posted

The longest-running disability-affirmative theater in the United States will bring its version of the Tony Award-winning play “Spring Awakening” at the Northglenn's Parsons Theatre March 23 through April 8. 

“We're just so pleased to be able to bring it to a community like Northglenn which traditionally has been so welcoming of people with disabilities,” said Ben Raanan, the director of the show.

The Phamaly Theatre Production Company will put on their production of “Spring Awakening.” It has won eight Tony Awards.

Phamaly Theatre exclusively casts artists with all natures of disabilities, including physical, cognitive, intellectual and emotional. Accessibility services will be available at the performances with captioning, braille materials, sensory guides and wheelchair access. 

ASL interpretation and audio description are available with two weeks’ notice. 

Original was banned

Raanan said Spring Awakening has a long history of importance within the disability community. 

“It speaks about the infantilization of children which is very similar to the infantilization of, historically, the disability community and so many within our community have taken it and kind of embraced it as a rallying cry for all those artists that started this company,” he said. 

He said the original play is based on a different play that was written in the mid-1900s in Germany that was banned due to censorship. It’s about children who live in a society that doesn’t give them any education regarding their bodies while going through puberty. 

Now, that play has been adapted to be a musical with provincial German scenes and songs similar to My Chemical Romance. 

“It's this beautiful mixture of the Frank Wedekind timeless story mixed with a modern-day rock score, which highlights how little we have moved forward in some ways,” Raanan said.

Some of the cast members will be from Colorado as well, including Colorado Springs, Denver and Pueblo. 

Raanan said Phamaly Theatre Company is inherently radical. 

“There's nothing that Phamaly can do that isn't radical, because in the society that we live in and with our current theatrical production, it is radical to put a person with a disability on a stage,” he said. 

He also noted the company doesn't rank disabilities – no one person is more or less disabled than another. 

Not only are they excited to come to Northglenn because it’s historically inclusive, but also because Parsons Theatre is the cream of the crop.

“Northglenn built this unbelievable building,” Raanan said. 

The feeling is mutual.

“Northglenn Arts is deeply passionate about Phamaly Theatre Company’s mission and values," said Michael Stricker, arts, culture and community manager. "It is a pleasure to book them every year. When we found out that they were going to produce Spring Awakening, we were absolutely thrilled! A beautiful and powerful story for a beautiful and powerful company!”

Spring Awakening, Northglenn, Parsons Theatre, disability, Phamaly Theatre Production Company

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