‘Whisperings’: Behind the Scenes at Olney Theatre Center’s ‘Spring Awakening’: Part 1: Director Steve Cosson

Director Steven Cosson begins our series of interviews with the cast and designers of Olney Theatre Center’s Spring Awakening.

Joel: There are dozens of productions of Spring Awakening scheduled in the DC Metro area and I have already seen 6 productions in the past year. What makes your production of Spring Awakening different or unique?

Steve Cosson. Photo by Peter Bellamy.
Steve Cosson. Photo by Peter Bellamy.

Steve: As far as how this production is different from others, I’ve only seen the Broadway production – I haven’t seen any other productions. I did really enjoy the Broadway production and have great respect for it. Ours is different first and foremost that we’re different people, our own creative team, designers and cast. I think it’s sort of a funny/problematic phenomena of musicals, especially musicals that have been on Broadway, that the Broadway production becomes the norm for the design and staging. That’s something I would never be interested in as a director. I want to have my own vision for the production and furthermore it’s actually what’s legal. I’ve seen some of the youtube clips from other productions – and there are very specific echoes of Bill T. Jones’ choreography or Michael Mayer’s staging, approximations of Kevin Adams’ lighting design and really all of that’s their intellectual property as much as the play and the music is the intellectual property of Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik. So, any production should be its own thing.

Melchior (Matthew Kacergis) stands up for Moritz (Parker Drown). Photo by Stan Barouh.
Melchior (Matthew Kacergis) stands up for Moritz (Parker Drown). Photo by Stan Barouh.

Our creative team is working as we would any other show, taking our cues from the score, the book, the story, trying to discern its structure and story arcs, and thinking too what it means to us and what we think it might mean to an audience here in Maryland here in 2013. And my approach to directing is very much rooted in working with the specific actors in the cast, helping them to find their own personal idiosyncratic way into the character and shaping the dynamics of how these particular people interact. It’s through those specifics that the story comes into being in a fully dimensional way. As far as specifics choices I’ve made differently, I’ll only say I’d like audiences to come to the show and see for themselves.

Melchior (Matthew Kacergis) and Wendla (Alyse Alan Louis). Photo by Stan Barouh.
Melchior (Matthew Kacergis) and Wendla (Alyse Alan Louis). Photo by Stan Barouh.

Spring Awakening plays through March 10, 2013 at Olney Theatre Center’s Main Stage — 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, in Olney, MD. For tickets call (301) 924-3400, or purchase them online. Running Time: Approximately two hours with one intermission.

Amanda Gunther’s review of Spring Awakening on DCMetroTheaterArts.


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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.


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