SIU theater department to stage explicit rock musical


Senior Kristin Doty, a senior from Herrin studying musical theater and Hayden Schubert, a senior from Du Quoin studying musical theater practice a song Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, during rehearsal for Spring Awakening at Altgeld Hall. (Mary Newman | @MaryNewmanDE)

By Gabby Pettyjohn

The theater department is gearing up for its fall production “Spring Awakening,” an explicit rock musical that focuses on teenagers in 19th century Germany discovering sexuality for the first time.

Unable to ask their parents questions, the production follows the teenagers as they discover things on their own.

“It shouldn’t be, ‘Oh my god, there’s a sex scene, we shouldn’t go see it,’” said supporting cast member Kristin Doty, a senior from Herrin studying musical theater. “It should be, ‘Oh my god, there’s a sex scene and these kids have no idea what they are doing.’”


Due to the sexual themes and controversial topics the production addresses — such as abortion and suicide —  “Spring Awakening” has been ruffling feathers since it debuted in Berlin over 100 years ago.

But cast members said the explicitness of the play, which will run from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1 in McLeod Theater, is not the point.

“It’s so much more than just sex,” said Jake Ellsworth, a sophomore with a supporting role in the musical from Newburgh, Indiana studying musical theater. “It’s a coming-of-age story.”

Though the music has been adapted since the play’s first production, the themes remain the same. Cast members said the century-old topics are still pertinent today.

“Knowing that this was written over 100 years ago and to still have these themes be relevant today is an incredible experience to be a part of,” said Michael Sigillito, a sophomore with a supporting role from St. Louis studying musical theater.

The cast and crew have less than a month left to prepare themselves for opening night, but cast members said they will be ready.

“We are pushing forward,” said Hayden Schubert, a senior from Du Quoin who plays lead character Melchior Gabor. “There’s no time to stumble around, so we have to make sure that we prepare outside of rehearsals as well.”


For more information about “Spring Awakening” and other upcoming productions, visit

Staff writer Gabby Pettyjohn can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @gpettyjohn98.

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