Students take on Tony Award-winning rock musical

spring awakening
Robert Barnes, top, Hannah Palazzi, foreground, and Justin Hopper and Amber Malinski, background, are among the cast that brings to life the Tony Award-winning rock musical ‘Spring Awakening’ at NAU.

Northern Arizona University’s Department of Theater is staging the Tony Award-winning rock musical Spring Awakening, a poignant story that follows a group of teenagers as they navigate the confusing and often troubling waters of their budding sexuality.

The play runs Nov. 22 through Dec. 8, with performances in the Clifford E. White Theater at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22-23 and Dec. 4-7, and 2 p.m. matinees Nov. 24 and Dec. 8.

Spring Awakening, winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, is inspired by Frank Wedekind’s controversial 1891 play, Spring’s Awakening—A Tragedy of Childhood. The play caused such a scandal in 19th century Germany that it was 50 years before it was translated into English.

An acclaimed score by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater turns this timeless story into a powerfully modern coming-of-age rock musical that pits the radiance of youth against the apathy of adulthood through original text and a brilliant musical score.

NAU theater professor Bob Yowell directs the play, and NAU music alumnus Stephanie Galloway is the musical director and conductor of an eight-member orchestra. Professional dancer Jayne Lee choreographs a powerful and creative ensemble of 13 performers. Theater lecturer Jennifer Peterson designed costumes inspired by the popular “Steam Punk” fashion and created a stage setting that captures the story’s discordant angst. Senior theater major Melinda Judson-Garcia designed the lighting as her final capstone project, and graduating senior Josh Zito handled props. Actors include graduating seniors Devon Mahon, Veronica Ancona, Zanden Hogrelius, Simon Nissen, Katherine Boelter, Willie Hines, Ayan Aunario, and Justin Hopper. 

Due to the play’s adult themes and brief nudity, parental discretion is recommended for patrons ages 17 and younger.

Individual tickets for the performance are $14 for general public; $12 for seniors and NAU faculty and staff; $8 for children; and $2 for NAU students. Tickets can be purchased from the Central Ticket Office located in the University Union (bldg. 30), by calling (928) 523-5661 or (888) 520-7214, or by visiting

Free parking is available after 4:30 p.m. and on weekends in parking lot 13, behind Cline Library.