Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff on Spring Awakening Reunion HBO Documentary – The Hollywood Reporter

Lea Michele talks about original Broadway reunion idea Spring awakening Actor came in a dream.

While talking to The Hollywood Reporter on the New York premiere carpet for the new HBO documentary Spring Awakening: People you already know – it was a performance part, a special part of the reunion – the actress, who plays the main character Wendia, recalls another time the team looked at it: “Maybe during the 10th anniversary celebration ” of the show from Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, based on Frank Wedekind’s 1891 teen film.

But mostly, she said, the special event came together after a conversation between actors Laura Pritchard and Jonathan Groff. “Laura had a dream that we were all reunited – like a real dream when she was sleeping at night – and she called Jonathan and said like, ‘We need to get back to the yard. stage together again,” Michelle recalls.

That performance will be one that benefits The Actor’s Fund during the pandemic. In addition to navigating COVID protocols and a live audience, the team only had a few days to rehearse, according to star Jonathan Groff, who starred as Melchior in the award-winning rock musical.

“You rehearsed for two months for a Broadway musical, and we Spring awakening back into the do not know, three days of rehearsals? ” Lili Cooper, the originator of Marta, explains. “I remember [original Broadway director] Michael Mayer told us, ‘Yeah, you’ll have books, but don’t look at them.’ And we asked, ‘What do you mean? Do you expect us to know all this? ‘ Of course, we had to rehearse, and it just kept pouring out of us, just like it’s been with us for the past decade and a half. ”

The film crew and RadicalMedia – the global media and communication company behind the musical productions filmed for Hamilton and Coming from far away – is also working under unusual circumstances with fast paced, high pressure.

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From left: Producer Dave Sirulnick, producer Meredith Bennett and director Michael John Warren
Bruce Glikas / WireImage

“Since this is a one-night show, this is another challenge for us. We didn’t have the usual four or five days. We had a shot like they shot once,” said Dave Sirulnick, producer of the documentary, who explains that the group often shoots multiple times with and without an audience and can capture angles and certain close-ups through this process without interrupting the direct experience for the viewer. “So I think people are being very collaborative and really connected with what we’re doing.”

Although all cameras are on them, Groff and John Gallagher Jr. (playing Moritz) agreed that filming the performance did not feel “intrusive”. Gallagher Jr. A more important challenge is a simple act of reunifying the team, says the team. “It’s hard for everyone to come back to the same place with so many people after so many years. Everyone scatters and then has their lives and their calling,” said the actor CHEAP. “So just getting back together for one night is enough, but then having it kept for posterity the way it is and shared with the world on the global stage – that’s almost overwhelming. ”

While the literature captures the direct benefit performance of Spring awakeningit also goes behind the scenes, giving fans familiar and new of the core company an insight into the making of the Broadway show years ago.

“I think this part is special because, as you’ve seen, it’s not just the performance, it’s the story of these people and what they put together,” Sirulnick said. “Story about Spring awakening It’s a remarkable story and an inspiring one, so we’re really excited to be able to tell that story and put the performances at the center. ”

“Of course, we love performing every night, but the real fun comes from the stage and the time we spend together. So I’m glad we got together to shoot scenes from 2006 on the Jonathan family’s ranch,” added Michelle. “We don’t do a lot of behind-the-scenes antics of the reunion – although I think we stayed up together every night until about five in the morning – but we are a family both on stage and off the field. stage, and I’m grateful for that, this documentary shows all of that. ”

For Cooper, it rekindled the playfulness – and, at one point, insecurity – of her youth. “For me at least, it took me back to that insecure teenage world where I said, ‘Oh, I hope everyone likes me. I hope we’re still friends,” Cooper said with a laugh. “Someone had a really nice thought – I forgot who it was – but they said it felt like we were reintroducing ourselves to each other. And when do you do that? “

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From left to right (top row): Skylar Astin, Jennifer Damiano, Gideon Glick, Robert Hager, Jonathan B. Wright, Lea Michele, Krysta Rodriguez, Remy Zaken, Lilli Cooper, Phoebe Strole and Lauren “Lolo” Pritchard; From left (bottom row): Gerard Canonico, Brian Charles Johnson, Jonathan Groff and John Gallagher Jr.
Cindy Ord / Getty Images

It’s also an opportunity for a new generation to see the main cast of this story and its (unfortunately) enduring messages for the first time. “For me, what’s contained in the film are stories that are so profound that I think a lot of people need to hear them. And so my dream for this movie is for it to go far and wide,” said the documentary’s director, Michael John Warren. “There are a lot of people who are socially marginalized or something has happened to them personally, and I love that we made this film go anywhere, so people who can didn’t hear the really important messages of this movie the movie suddenly heard them. “

However, the document itself serves more than just a timely throwback to discussions of sexuality, gender, religion, abortion, and authority, among other topics. Nor is it simply a trip back up memory lane for its cast or a means of reaching a wider audience. Because they’ve performed before on social media, the experience has allowed the cast to revisit the show with each other – and with fans – in a way they’ve never done before.

Spring awakening happened before the social media wave, so all the videos and performances you have now are non-existent,” said Groff. “So to be able to go back and do the songs together and talk about the show, and have it recorded, was very poignant for us because we never had a recording of that video. , from the program being recorded, or even just from that recording. We are so used to social media now. “

Another new part of the experience is seeing the adult cast live in their roles. “The biggest difference for me was when I was 16 years old. I was a very different person in 2006. I have grown a lot about who I am. I’m a mom now,” Cooper said. “I think the reunion concert itself felt very poignant because we looked at it through a different lens, and that allowed us to tell the story in such a powerful way.”

Michele added: “I felt like taking on this role as adults, we had a much better understanding of what we were really talking about – what it meant. “Going back to being an adult – not only better understanding what we’re talking about, having life experience – but a lot more confident. It’s really about having fun with our friends and telling stories. Not too much pressure to get the job done every night. It really relaxed our shoulders, and we delivered a really honest and grounded performance.”

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Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater
Cindy Ord / Getty Images

Spring Awakening: People you already know premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

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