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Spring Awakening tops Farr’s final Lyric season

First Published 19 May 2008, Last Updated 20 May 2008

The UK premiere of hit American musical Spring Awakening tops David Farr’s final exciting season as the Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith.

The 2008/2009 season also includes productions by the National Theatre Of Scotland, Peepolykus, Frantic Assembly and the return of Melly Still to direct the Christmas production.

Spring Awakening, which is being recreated by its original New York creative team, premieres at the Lyric Hammersmith on 3 February 2009 and runs until 28 February (previews from 23 January).

Featuring music by Duncan Sheik, book and lyrics by Steven Sater, choreography by Bill T Jones and direction from Michael Mayer, Spring Awakening tells the story of brilliant young student Melchior, his troubled friend Moritz and beautiful girl Wendla. Based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial play, it is a tale of morality, sexuality and young love set in 19th century Germany.

When the production was originally staged in New York, where Farr first saw it, the show won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Before Spring Awakening, the Lyric Hammersmith 2008/9 season begins with 365, a new piece by Laurence Olivier Award-winning playwright David Harrower (Blackbird) which is created by the National Theatre Of Scotland. Running from 8 to 27 September, 365 follows the lives of a group of young people who take their first steps towards adulthood and independence. Inspired by the lives of the 70,000 children who are in care in the UK, 365 shows how just some of these young people pass through a “practice flat” to prepare them for life in the world outside.

365 is followed by new Peepolykus piece Spyski! (Or The Importance Of Being Honest), which is directed by Farr. This new show may or may not be a comic thriller about international espionage and the poisoning of a Russian dissident in London. There is the possibility it may also be Oscar Wilde. Only the Peepolykus people know. Spyski! runs at the Lyric Hammersmith between 3 October and 1 November (press night 13 October).

Physical theatre company Frantic Assembly returns to the Lyric Hammersmith in November presenting its own version of Shakespeare’s Othello (4 to 22 November). This new interpretation sets Othello as a black bouncer in a white northern town, mixing a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s text with a critique of 21st century Britain.

The Lyric Hammersmith’s Christmas production sees the return of director Melly Still to the theatre at which she directed Watership Down in 2006. Telling the original Brothers Grimm story, Still, who also directed the National Theatre’s acclaimed production of Coram Boy, is part of a creative team that also includes designer Sophia Clist and Norwegian ice-musician Terje Isungset. Cinderella runs between 28 November and 3 January (press night 5 December).

Also announced today were Lyric Hammersmith Studio productions Radioplay (7 to 25 October), which blends character comedy, stand up, film and live jazz, and Why I Don’t Hate White People (22 January 2009-14 February 2009), the new piece from Southbank Centre Writer in Residence Lemn Sissay.

MA

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