Student Director Produces A Hit
WAUKESHA, WIS. – The Carroll University Theatre Program produced the musical Spring Awakening on their main stage theatre, The Otteson, this fall. Spring Awakening is a rock musical with book and lyrics written by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Shiek. The original show debuted on Broadway in 2006 and received eight tony awards that season. Carroll’s adaption did not disappoint either.
The entire production was student realized. Carroll students, with the guidance of theatre program directors, James Zager and Jennifer Dobby, had complete control heading each element of the show from costumes, lights and sound to music direction. The musical was performed with only three shows on Friday, November 22 (7:00PM) and two shows on that following Saturday (2:00PM and 7:00PM).
Fresh off of his completely sold out run, I had the chance to speak with the director of Spring Awakening, Ryan Albrechtson. A sophomore student, Albrechtson is a theatre arts major with minors in English fine arts administration. With its mature themes, strong language and content, Spring Awakening is not your typical jazz-square-and-glitter musical. When asked why he chose this show, Albrechtson responded, “I chose Spring Awakening because I wanted to direct a show with a powerful message. The theme [of reflection] at Carroll this year is humanities, and so I couldn’t think of a better show with which to explore that theme.” The response to the show was very positive taking the subject matter into consideration, Albrechtson notes, “Reactions were all actually fairly positive. It seems that most people were able to look past…and get to the real meaning of the story. I was happy with how all three audiences took the show.” The show completely sold out the 150-chair Otteson Theatre days before the run of the show, explained the Carroll student, with a smile.
Albrechtson spoke with great passion and respect for his art form which made me wonder when he was hit with the directing bug. “When I was in high school I decided to try directing as a part of a big final project I had to do for my honor’s English class. I directed my high school’s fall main stage show, The Hobbit, and fell in love with it. I had always been interested in theatre, and this was a new side I had never tried before.” When asked about his future plans, Albrechtson confidently replied, “There are a lot of shows I would love to direct, and I think it all depends on timing and what is going on during the time I start a project. I’d love to tackle some [playwright] Neil LaBute plays, and things of that nature. At some point in my career, I’d also love to direct Spring’s Awakening, the play which this musical was based on.”
After such a successful show, Carroll University student, Ryan Albrechtson certainly has a bright future ahead of him, especially with Carroll University’s Theatre Arts Program.