Onstage and Backstage podcast from Hal Leonard is available on iTunes and Libsyn. Each episode authors and their guests have a chat about the topics of their books. Today, Steven Sater talks about Spring Awakening and writing his book A Purple Summer: Notes on the Lyrics of Spring Awakening with two original cast members, Jonathan Groff and Lauren Pritchard.
A Purple Summer by Steven Sater
In February 1999, Steven Sater conceived the radical notion of creating a rock musical from Frank Wedekind’s notorious Symbolist drama, Frühlings Erwachen, and he enlisted his friend and writing partner Duncan Sheik in the enterprise. That night, Sater came home and began writing the first lyric of Spring Awakening: “Mama Who Bore Me” – a lyric which still stands, verbatim, just as he first wrote it.
Ten years later, in the wake of the enormous international success of this groundbreaking, multiaward-winning show, its original director, Michael Mayer, urged Sater to write notes explicating its famously evocative, poetic lyrics.
In rich detail, Sater’s notes address the literary sources and allusions of each lyric. He also writes feelingly of what prompted the songs over the course of the show’s eight years of development. In so doing, Sater expands on his partnership with Sheik and his experiences with original cast members, Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff, now also known from Glee.
These notes will prove invaluable for fans of the show, for all those interested in theater, and most especially for all the young performers who will play the roles and sing these songs.