New York | 2h 20m | Already closed

Spring Awakening ( (Broadway: Deaf West)

From 61 critic and 1,403 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Great staging, Ambitious, Must see, Great acting

About the show

A revival of the Tony Award-winning rock musical about teenagers discovering the tumult of sexuality, is presented by Deaf West, performed in both American Sign Language and spoken English. More…

Rebellious teenagers take a provocative journey from adolescence to adulthood in this powerful celebration of self-discovery in oppressive times. A rock musical adaptation of the 1892 German play of the same title by Frank Wedekind. It will be performed simultaneously in American Sign Language and spoken (and sung) English. With a score by Duncan Sheik, this story of youth and sexuality seeks to awaken audience passion.

2h 20m | Already closed | Brooks Atkinson Theatre (Midtown W)

As Her World Turns

"Director Michael Arden has staged it with such precision and alchemy, bringing tremendous energy to each number. I challenge you to see this and, regardless of your familiarity with the music, resist the urge to bop along in your seat...Do yourself a favor and see this before it closes in January." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"By cleverly pairing deaf actors who are signing with hearing actors who are singing, Deaf West has made the show the most accessible on Broadway, but also forged it into something theatrically exceptional...That such a show should be so joyful and so beautiful — from the evocative lighting to the hand ballet of sign language by the entire cast — is itself a sign: Deaf West has done it right." Full Review

Theater In The Now

"Deaf West, Michael Arden, and their extraordinary team reinvented this ravishing musical and created something truly mesmerizing...This production is not only important, it deserves to be seen by an even wider audience...Deaf West Theatre’s 'Spring Awakening' is one that will go down in the history books. It’s quite extraordinary when you can improve upon perfection. Dare I say, it's better than the original." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"This new production is a wildly impactful and visceral production that goes straight to the heart and doesn’t let go...'Spring Awakening' is as potent as ever...'Spring Awakening,' as evident by the handful of teens waiting in tears by the stage door after the performance I saw, is palpable. Full Review

Broadway Showbiz

"The show has a talented cast; the lyrics are poignant, and now more than ever it is a powerful show to see...This show is a must see! I wanted to jump up on stage during 'Purple Summer' and chant along with the cast. A perfect night at the theater." Full Review

Broad Street Review

"It’s early in the theater season for miracles, but we’ve got one already. A company featuring deaf actors is bringing the sound of music to Broadway in a revival even more thrilling than its original production...The combined energy of all these young actors, deaf and hearing (including one actress in a wheel chair), is exhilarating." Full Review

On Stage Blog

"Director Michael Arden's take on 'Spring Awakening' is not only deeply moving and incredibly brilliant, but it reveals elements and nuances of these characters that we haven't seen before. You'd be hard pressed to argue that the piece shouldn't be performed in this way from now on...Given that this is a special engagement, I cannot recommend seeing this enough. It is undoubtedly one of the most unforgettable theatrical experiences I've seen." Full Review


"A thrilling new look at a musical that still bears hidden treasures nine years after its debut...Everything benefits from director Michael Arden's muscular approach. Arden brings instruments into the mise-en-scène in a manner reminiscent of John Doyle. Arden's Brechtian embrace of theatricality proves to be vital to the epic theater of adolescence...This revival is that rare reimagining that furthers the themes of the original work, rather than plastering over them with an auteur's vision." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"This revival would have been unjustifiable were it not for the brilliant idea of placing the story in the context of deafness and using many deaf actors to tell it...Deafness is not a random overlay on 'Spring Awakening' or a trendy gimmick hatched to sell it...I liked the new production better than the original." Full Review

The New York Times

"One of the great musicals of the last decade was born anew on Sunday, when the thrillingly inventive Deaf West Theater production of 'Spring Awakening' opened on Broadway. Any qualms theater-lovers might have about this being a premature, whiplash-inducing revival will vanish like frost in strong sunlight when the young cast of both hearing and deaf actors floods the stage...A first-rate production of a transporting musical." Full Review


"This intoxicating production kicks the power of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s propulsive musical into a higher sphere altogether. And yet it seems truer in spirit than even the original 2006 production to Frank Wedekind’s daring, scandal-making play about teens on the verge of a sexual breakdown...The only shadow cast here is of great musical-theater making. The lighting may be dappled but 'Spring Awakening' is brilliant." Full Review

USA Today

"This new 'Awakening' finds added resonance in the musical's warnings against the tyranny of ignorance and small-mindedness. Director Michael Arden has recruited a superb cast that includes actors from the deaf community, and incorporated American Sign Language into the show...It's a darkly sumptuous, ultimately uplifting feast for the ears and eyes." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"The score serves the story, and is deserving of further study...The rock sound in the score, and the nineteenth century attitudes in the story make an effective and powerful cocktail. The audience, refreshingly young for Broadway, did a lot of hootin’ and hollerin’, and you know what? So did I." Full Review

The Washington Post

"This moving revival seals a pact with an audience in a gentler manner than the more scaldingly assertive original production...Signing has been integrated here so deftly that you feel the language’s fluidity has a natural place in musical theater...The show’s depiction of teenagers with a need to unyoke themselves from adult control remains vibrantly intact...The rock-infused energy lifts up the entire enterprise. Cue the sign again, for heaven." Full Review

The Associated Press

"The result is an exhilarating and fluid hybrid of song, word, dance and sign — and a sheer triumph for director Michael Arden and choreographer Spencer Liff. The songs sit seamlessly in the show, often as brightly lit fantasy sequences that snap back into the grim narrative...If anything, the brilliant staging reveals chips and holes in the book and lyrics, which simply don't measure up to the ingeniousness of the new show itself." Full Review

The Three Tomatoes

"'Spring Awakening' 2015 is quite moving and feels even more organic than the in-your-face, bold original. It flows beautifully, and although not nearly as energetic and explosive, it has it’s own rhythm and spirit." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"It’s been twelve years since Deaf West mounted a Broadway production—let’s hope we don’t have to wait that long for another. Same goes for the immensely talented first time director Arden, who saw the amazing potential of Duncan Sheik’s gorgeous music and knew just what to do to wake up Broadway with it once again. Hopefully there is far more to come from this pairing." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Sheik’s music emphasizes beat over melody, offering insufficient variety...Sater’s lyrics have punch but can be unsubtle...Arden and Liff keep the actors moving in interesting formations...Wedekind’s play is fully realized in the dynamic staging, but there’s also a cool grayness that creates a sense of distance...This doesn’t detract from the superlative performances." Full Review


"This unique packaging of a more than hundred-year-old play as a rock popera has returned to Broadway, proving once again that if the music is appealing enough and the story's themes enduring, directorial brilliance and originality can strike more than once...This cast of mostly unknowns couldn't be better...Deaf West's translation adds a subtle artistic layer that actually deepens and enriches the story telling." Full Review

New York Daily News

"In Deaf West's exhilarating reboot of the moody and stirring 2007 Tony winner, the repressed and rudderless kids are lifting more than their voices. They’re also raising their hands to express themselves — and casting a whole new spell. The show combines hearing and non-hearing actors who use American Sign Language. Some roles are played by two actors — one who sings, one who signs. Many in the cast do both at once. The result: Lines and lyrics look as poetic and provocative as they sound." Full Review

AM New York

"An inspired and innovative revival that incorporates American Sign Language...Although it's hard to shake off memories of the brilliant original production, Arden's revival is visually stunning, emotionally poignant and thoroughly exciting in its own right." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"Few things in theater are rarer than a production so fine that it cries out to be seen in spite of the show, but that’s the case with Deaf West’s 'Spring Awakening:' It ranks among the most emotionally charged renderings of a musical to come to Broadway in the past decade, one that all who love the genre should rush to see." Full Review

Theater Life

"The juxtaposition of the story's 1891 setting and the intense, heart-pumping, contemporary score by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater remains fresh, but the added element of a combined deaf and hearing cast gives 'Spring' an extra jolt...'Spring Awakening' is a refreshing challenge to the rigid Broadway template." Full Review


"The students and grownups speak a different language, and the use of American Sign Language provides a metaphorical layer to the generational divide. Conceptually, it is an inspired touch, but Michael Arden’s meticulous direction adds the poetry and emotion that gives this version its resonance...It is all intricately woven, featuring deaf and hearing actors who both sign and sing...The staging, graced with beautifully evocative choreography and design elements, make for a moving experience." Full Review


"Aided by a tight band of strings and drums, by inspired and precise lighting, and by smartly repressed costuming and somber scenic design with a gorgeous surprise at the end, the brilliant direction and choreography turn 'Spring Awakening,' already a fine if unusual musical, into something really special and new." Full Review

Ambitious, Adult, Resonant, Refreshing, Great staging

See it if Contemporary singing, gorgeous movement, beautiful, coming-of-age plot. Sharp resonance and signing reflects the original musical/story.

Don't see it if You don't like stories about young adults, all singing, adult/controversial themes. Sign language accompanies the music and cheoreagraphy.

Great acting, Great singing, Great writing, Epic, Masterful

See it if amazing performance, great story line

Don't see it if portrays suicide

Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Profound, Resonant

See it if You enjoy deeply emotional story lines of teenage angst.

Don't see it if You are unable to handle mature situations that are sexual or suicidal.

Absorbing, Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining, Exquisite

See it if you love this show and something totally new and innovative, brilliant and entertaining.

Don't see it if Just see it! Don't miss it.

Edgy, Great singing, Great staging, Great acting, Must see

See it if you liked the book and message.

Don't see it if you don’t like having to focus on sign language

Exquisite, Groundbreaking, Refreshing, Clever, Perfect example of what theater could and should be

See it if you are a fan of the original and want to see the story retold in a way that makes it fresh. I was blown away by this interpretation.

Don't see it if you are bringing young kids. But I wish everyone over the age of 17 could have seen this groundbreaking production

Also So, I saw this production in December 2015 in the same weekend that I ... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing, Exquisite

See it if If you get the opportunity to see this beautiful production by Deaf West do not miss it.

Don't see it if There is no reason not to see it unless it is not playing anywhere in the area

Exquisite, Great acting, Great singing, Important

See it if you are looking for a show that is very relevant to young people but can give interesting perspectives everyone. This show is partly in ASL.

Don't see it if subjects such as sex, rape, child cruelty, and nudity make you too unconfortable.

Absorbing, Clever, Ambitious, Great acting, Profound

See it if You want to be moved and inspired by a deeply profound and inspiring concept (using Deaf West). This show was simply amazing!

Don't see it if You are easily offended by strong themes such as sex.

Exquisite, Must see, Intense, Enchanting, Profound

See it if you love theater at its best. Everything is sung and in sign language. It is touching, emotional, beautiful, artistic, stunning...a must see

Don't see it if are scared of gun shots, dislike sex scenes, dislike crying in public

Enchanting, Exquisite, Great acting, Great singing, Great writing

See it if you adore sensitive, intelligent lyrics and book and exquisitely beautiful music, including alternative rock, well staged and performed.

Don't see it if you dislike historical musicals, explicit adolescent hetero- and homosexual sensuality, or challenge to Lutheranism/conservative religion.

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great writing, Resonant, Profound

See it if You understand the pressures of adolescence (or want to), want to be immersed in truly beautiful music, see the harm ignorance can cause

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with partial nudity, teenagers exploring sex and sexuality, tragedy at the hands of ignorant and controlling parents

Enchanting, Clever, Great acting, Great singing, Profound

See it if you want to be moved

Don't see it if You want to bring your parents or young children (there is cursing and difficult subject matter), or if you find partial nudity unnerving

Absorbing, Enchanting, Exquisite, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you love a cast full of people with disabilities using them to make a fantastic production.

Don't see it if you are not a musical lover

Absorbing, Exquisite, Intense, Intelligent, Profound

See it if you are passionate about accessibility and gorgeous stage pictures

Don't see it if you prioritize musical theatre singing above all else - the singing is much softer and folk-y than the original

Clever, Absorbing, Ambitious, Enchanting, Edgy

See it if Great casting, very innovative way of staging, wouldn't want to see this done any other way

Don't see it if You don't like sexual content or some vulgar language

Enchanting, Great acting, Great writing, Must see, Masterful

See it if You appreciate the arts. Are a member of or a supporter of the deaf and or hard of hearing community. Enjoy beautifully done productions.

Don't see it if If you don't appreciate ASL. If you don't care for partial subtitles. If you don't want to see an amazing productions.


See it if you have any taste at all

Don't see it if you like bad musicals

Absorbing, Great staging, Must see, Indulgent, Enchanting

See it if you want to immerse yourself in deaf theatre culture, are deaf or HOH, enjoy modern musicals, and are okay with sexuality.

Don't see it if you are under 18, are ignorant to ASL and deaf culture, and think deaf people are dumb (they are NOT).

Profound, Masterful, Great staging, Epic, Exquisite

See it if You loved the original production and are looking for an element to take this show to the next level. The sign language transforms the theme

Don't see it if You aren't interesting in seeing something involving sign language and are uncomfortable with sexual themes

Clever, Absorbing, Resonant, Refreshing, Profound

See it if A beautiful take on an already moving show. See if you love the original and the story. This production brings even more light to issues.

Don't see it if Do not see if you do not want an emotional story or are a little prudish.

Must see, Great writing, Great staging, Great singing

See it if You like rock musicals with new direction!!

Don't see it if You are not interested in the struggle of youth.

Exquisite, Masterful, Must see, Profound, Riveting

See it if you enjoy contemporary music and will appreciate the flawless integration of ASL into the show. This is a breath taking production!

Don't see it if you do not like to discuss dark themes or have young children.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Profound, Refreshing

See it if You are differently able, young, and/or remember what it was like to be a teen.

Don't see it if You can't handle awesome rock music and teen angst.

Intense, Relevant, Must see

See it if You want to experience the heart-wrenching story of teenagers who are uneducated and unprepared to deal with all that they go through.

Don't see it if You don't like sad musicals.

Cast & Creatives (41)