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Volume 7, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1750-3159
  • E-ISSN: 1750-3167



The creative team of Spring Awakening (2006) never anticipated the musical becoming a commercial success. Librettist Steven Sater, composer Duncan Sheik and director Michael Mayer all hoped that the musical would enjoy a modest off-off-Broadway run, but they never imagined it would find a home on the Great White Way. Rather, the creators sought to eschew musical theatre conventions and incorporate avant-garde theatricality in an effort to present an anti-Broadway (and therefore anti-establishment) mentality. This article examines Spring Awakening’s place within the avant-garde tradition against its success within the commercial sphere of Broadway. Can a commercially successful musical ever truly be thought of as avant-garde?


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