Spring Awakening: From the Play to the Musical

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Benjamin Franklin Wedekind was born on 24th July, 1864 in Hanover, today’s capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony, Germany. Wedekind’s father, Friedrich Wilhelm Wedekind, was a physician, and his mother, Emilie Kammerer, a German actress and singer. He grew up in Switzerland, where his father had purchased a castle. After finishing is secondary education, he attended one of Switzerland’s universities, the University of Lausanne, but dropped out and finally moved in Munich where he studied literature and law at the University of Munich. After travelling through England and France, he came back in Munich in order to attempt to make a living from acting (“Simkin”). Before becoming a famous playwright, he also worked as a journalist, a secretary for a circus and an advertising copywriter ("Frank Wedekind (German Actor and Dramatist)”). Afterwards, he joined the staff of a satirical magazine where he began to publish his own poems.
It is between the autumn of 1890 and the spring of 1891 that he wrote is first major play and highly influential work in the modern history of theatre, Frühlings Erwachen (Spring Awakening). The play is a harsh criticism of the sexually oppression suffered by the growing youth at the end of the 19th in Germany. It addresses subject matters such as teenage desire, abortion, homosexuality, and rape. It follows three teenagers, Wendla, Moritz, and Melchior, in the discovery of their body and in their journey through the complicated time of sexual awakening. Although written in the early 1890s, the play was not produced until the month of November of 1906 (“Biography of Frank Wedekind (1864-1918)”).
At the time of its creation, it was considered as a very provocative offensive work. However, its content was widely recognised as “revolutionary”. Writing this play was also a useful way for Wedekind to clearly demonstrate Expressionism, a

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