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MCCC Theatre/Dance Program to Present Tony Award-Winning ‘Spring Awakening’ at Kelsey Theatre April 6 to 15


Pictured left is Marshall McGuire as Melchior, with Julia Toto, left kneeling, and Jackie Galli; middle row, from left, Donte Wilder and Liam Smith; and top row, from left, Karena Lewis, Tyler Fowler and Matthew Swanson. Photo by Robert Terrano.

Julia Toto as Wendla and Marshall McGuire as Melchior. Photo by Robert Terrano.

Lauren Suchenski and Donte Wilder. Photo by Robert Terrano.

From left, Matthew Swanson, Marshall McGuire, Donte Wilder, Liam Smith and Tyler Fowler. Photo by Robert Terrano.

West Windsor, N.J. – The fraught and poignant passage from adolescence to adulthood takes center stage as the Theatre/Dance program at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) presents the groundbreaking musical “Spring Awakening.” This unforgettable coming-of-age tale comes to MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre Fridays, Apr. 6 and 13 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Apr. 7 and 14 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Apr. 8 and 15 at 2 p.m.

Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on April 6. (This show is not recommended for young children.)

Set in 1891 Germany, the grown-ups are in firm control – except that their teenage children have other plans. This universal story of self-discovery and sexual awakening focuses on a group of friends, most notably, the strong-willed Melchior and innocent Wendla, whose longings and curiosity draw them together, and anxious Moritz, who strives to live up to the strict expectations of family and society. As they confront issues of morality and rebellion, they turn to each other for guidance and solace.

Their angst-ridden journey is set to the brilliant rock and roll score by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik. The original Broadway production premiered in 2006 and was the winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The show is based on the controversial play by Frank Wedekind, once banned in Germany.

Observes MCCC Theatre/Dance Program Coordinator Jody Gazenbeek-Person, the cast features a mix of actors who are opening their own doors of communication about the messy, emotional struggles of growing up, a central theme in the show.

“We cast in equal numbers MCCC students, community members, and high school actors. This is providing opportunities for dialogue – not just within the comfort of our college community, but among people from around the region,” Gazenbeek-Person said. “My hope is that everyone involved in this production, including the audience, will leave the theater feeling more open to talking about the pressures facing adolescents. Discussing sexuality and reproduction is still challenging for many young people and their parents. But not discussing these issues candidly can lead to some very difficult circumstances.”

The cast stars Marshall McGuire of Ewing as Melchior; Julia Toto of Pennington as Wendla; and Ted Braun of West Windsor as Moritz. Their friend group includes Erica Boyea of South Plainfield as Martha; Tyler Fowler of Millstone as Ernst/Reinhold; Jackie Galli of Lambertville as Thea; Bridget Hughes of Jackson as Ilse; Karena Lewis of Ewing as Anna; Liam Smith of Yardley, Pa., as Hanschen/Rupert; Matthew Swanson of Titusville as Otto/Ulbrecht; and Donte Wilder of Ewing as George/Dieter.
The adult roles will be played by Lauren Suchenski of Yardley, Pa., and Jim Morris of Plainsboro.

The live orchestra will feature Conductor Scott Hornick, Coordinator of the MCCC Music Program, and Music students Joseph Suarez on bass, Jim Holton on cello, Kylan Hillman on guitar, Jillian Ashcraft on guitar/violin, and Sam Meerwarth on percussion, plus community member Laurie Gougher on piano and instructor Josh Wilson (piano swing).

In addition to Gazenbeek-Person, who is choreographing the show and serves as co-producer with M. Kitty Getlik, the production team includes Director LouJ Stalsworth, Vocal Director Laurie Gougher, Music Director Scott Hornick, Costume/Scenic Designer Kate Pinner, Light Designer Chris Ghaffoor, Sound Designer Evan Paine, Props Mistress Madelyn Morrison Lichtman, and Stage Manager Dennis Tolentino. MCCC Entertainment Technology students are assisting with lighting and sound.

Tickets for “Spring Awakening” are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $16 for students and children. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333.

Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking next to the theater.  For a complete listing of adult and children's events, visit the Kelsey website or call the box office for a brochure.

2017-18 Kelsey Schedule
Kelsey Theatre Website
Audition Information
Tomato Patch Summer Workshops for Children & Teens

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