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USD Theatre Rocks Spring Awakening

Students singing on stage for the production of Spring Awakening. Jackson Whitaker, Tommy Sepulveda, Taylor Gravert and Josie Kasik (pictured from left to right) in "Spring Awakening."

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota’s Department of Theatre presents the eight-time Tony Award ® winning musical “Spring Awakening.” This groundbreaking rock musical has been electrifying audiences since its 2006 premiere as it addresses the tumultuous transition from adolescence to adulthood. With a folk-infused alternative rock score by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater, this unapologetically, raw musical is sure to get audiences grooving in their seats. Due to strong mature and sexual themes, this show is not suitable for children.

“Although it has been over 120 years since Frank Wedekind wrote his seminal play “Spring Awakening,” its themes of generational discord, moral and sexual coming of age and the teenage struggle to find their place in society is as resonant today as it was then,” said Professor Matt Nesmith, stage and music director of “Spring Awakening.” “Sater and Sheik’s rock music score and updated libretto provide the vehicle for our young characters to express their rebellious spirits, and our cast and production team have created a fresh perspective on this story that will entertain, excite, and challenge audiences in the best ways possible.”

Jackson Whitaker, a junior B.F.A. musical theatre major, plays the lead role of Melchior.

“I enjoy playing Melchior because he sings songs in the early 2000’s rock style,” Whitaker said. “I have also enjoyed the movement aspect of this production process and having the freedom to incorporate it into choreography.”

Check out USD Theatre on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@usd_theatre) for interviews, photos and discounted tickets.

“Spring Awakening” performs April 11 – 13 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance on April 14 at 2 p.m. in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre on the USD campus. Tickets ($15 Adults, $12 Senior Citizen [62+], $10 K-12 & non-USD students with ID, and $5 USD students with ID) can be purchased in the afternoons (12 – 5 p.m.) starting April 4 at the USD Theatre Box Office or by calling (605)658-3484; tickets can also be purchased now online at


USD's College of Fine Arts encourages students to pursue their chosen professional field in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. Students learn and grow to be professional fine artists with great job potential anywhere in the country. The college offers opportunities for additional real-world experiences through work with guest artists, study tours abroad and opportunities at the National Music Museum and the University Art Galleries on the Vermillion campus and the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. The college brings more than 80 guests artists to campus annually to work with students.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News