“Spring Awakening” opens Wednesday, Sept. 26

The four NSU seniors, all hailing from Edmond, Okla., will perform in NSU Theatre and Dance’s upcoming production, “Spring Awakening.” In front from left are Jayzen Boger, Payton Hartwick and Thomas Hadzeriga. In back is Asher Van Meter.

By Hannah Richardson, lifestyleeditor@natchitochestimes.com

Four longtime friends are finally getting the chance to work together in an upcoming play at Northwestern State University. They are Asher Van Meter, Thomas Hadzeriga, Payton Hartwick and Jayzen Boger, all of Edmond, Okla.

“Spring Awakening,” which premieres Wednesday, Sept. 26, will be the first performance all four will be in together since their high school days in Edmond. Now college seniors, they’ve been in several productions on campus, sometimes working individually or in pairs.

“After learning we’d all be in a play together, I was scared that we would get too distracted,” said Van Meter. “Now, it’s been exciting and fun to not only work together, but it’s also great to see how much each of us has grown during our time here.”

Van Meter said that all four of them came to NSU knowing exactly what to expect thanks to their high school instructor, Jena Nelson, at Edmond North High School. Nelson is an NSU graduate of 2009.


Northwestern State University Theatre and Dance will perform “Spring Awakening” Sept. 26-28 and Oct. 3-6 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children and senior citizens. NSU, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts are admitted free with a current student I.D. Tickets can be purchased online at capa.nsula.edu/theatre/season-tickets. For more information, call (318) 357-4483.

“Spring Awakening” with book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik is based on the groundbreaking and controversial play “Spring Awakening” by Frank Wedekind. The play takes the story of sexual awakening, youth revolt and self discovery into a new century. The play is set in 1891 when the grownups hold all the cards. Headstrong Melchior and naïve Wendla stumble into each other’s arms, passionate and curious while anxious Moritz struggles to live up to the stringent expectations of society.

With only each other for guidance, this group of young men and women travel the fraught and rocky path of adolescence, discovering their bodies, their minds and themselves along the way. An eclectic, vibrant celebration of youth and rebellion, “Spring Awakening” fuses issues of morality, sexuality and rock and roll into a story that packs a powerful emotional punch.

“‘Spring Awakening’ has been a production the theatre students have asked to do for quite a while,” said director Scott Burrell. “I’ve always been hesitant to direct the show because of the subject matter and the deep emotional content it presents. But with the current challenges youth are facing each day, I felt the timing was right to take on such an evocative musical. While those attending will certainly be impressed with the level of talent in our program, this production is certainly not for everyone.”

Burrell warned the play contains graphic and intense content including suicide, sexual violence/assault, sexual themes and mental illness. It is suitable for mature audiences over 18.

The cast is Joey Carroll, Madalyn Mullins and Emma Rivet of Baton Rouge, Jordan Molitor of Sulphur, Kathryn Bancroft, Trevor Brown, Samuel Wright and Emily Ricalde of New Orleans, Payton Hartwick, Thomas Hadzeriga, Asher Van Meter and Jayzen Boger of Edmond, Oklahoma, Andrew Palmintier of Lafayette, Cassidy Giddens of Shreveport, Dania Hunter of Leesville and Hannah Conrad Bradley of Princeton, New Jersey.

The stage management team is stage manger Krislyn Mardis of Choudrant and assistant stage mangers Devin Shores of Youngsville and Caitlin Foster of LaPlace.

Student designers are props designer Jade Duthu of New Orleans, costume designer Cambree Bailey of Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia, sound designer Cameron Duhe of New Orleans and Hartwick is set designer.

The choreographer is Brett Garfinkel with music direction by Daniel Ley. Phil Kidd is set designer while Paul Pharris is lighting designer and Robert Richoux is technical director.