The Media Theatre will be the sight of a Teen Town Hall Meeting presented Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m. The focus is on issues within the musical Spring Awakening. Several prominent, knowledgeable panelists will be on hand including Dr. Betsy Crane, Widener University’s Director of Studies in Human Sexuality; Mark Schellenger, Radnor High School Principal; Brian Bortnicker of PRYSM Youth Center; Jesse Cline, Media Theatre’s Artistic Director; and actor Jack Raymond, who portays the role of Moritz in the production.
“The Town Hall Meeting is a great forum for open discussion about the issues that are brought to light in Spring Awakening,” said Cline. “The rock musical, which focuses on a group of teens coming of age in 1891 Germany, deals with subject matter that many parents have difficulty discussing with their children. Subjects touched on include first relationships, love, pregnancy, suicide, and alternative lifestyles.”
He continued, “The musical takes place in 1891 and is based on a classic piece of literature though the issues it brings up are relevant today. In the setting of the show, teens come of age amidst adults who create an atmosphere of shame . Our intention with this forum on March 25 is to dispel the fear families may have broaching these topics and to assist with the anxiety audiences may have about the musical itself.”
When the musical was having its Broadway premiere, the producers of the show and actress Rosie O’ Donnell held a similar meeting to ‘build a bridge’ to families and youth. The show is immensely popular to youth, as its Tony winning score is by alternative rock musician Duncan Sheik. “We want youth to understand, and their parents also, that you are who you are. You cannot change who you are—you can run from it, and you can hide it—but you will never change it. There’s nothing for which to be ashamed,” Cline said.
Spring Awakening presents, matter-of-factly, teens who are left blindly stumbling without focus as a result of adults who are out of touch with the reality of their lives. Left without proper guidance, the youth are unequipped to make responsible choices.
“In today’s world, with its hi-tech gadgetry and immediate satisfaction from ‘instant messaging’ and ‘googling’, the art of face-to-face conversation seems to have taken a back seat,” Cline said. “We are much more aware on so many levels, but still live in a society in which there is a reluctance to discuss issues about becoming adults. Therefore, this is an important Teen Town Hall Meeting to attend and participate in.”
Spring Awakening plays at The Media Theatre April 18-May 20. Songs from the show will be performed at the meeting on March 25, which is free to the public. Participants may also register at the event to win two free Onstage Tickets to Spring Awakening, as 20 people per night will be seated on stage. Anyone attending the event may also purchase tickets to any performance of Spring Awakening at $5 off (if purchasing tickets the same day of the Teen Town Hall Meeting.)
For more information on the Spring Awakening Teen Town Hall Meeting for families and youth, or the musical itself, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org