This past weekend, A-Town Records (ATR), in collaboration with ‘Berg Production, showcased the Tony Award winning musical, “Spring Awakening.” A-Town Records, formed in 2022, is a student-led record label and music association that aims to connect musicians of all backgrounds to collaborate on musical projects. ATR’s production of “Spring Awakening” took place in the Event Space and all dates were completely sold-out.
“Spring Awakening” tells the story of children who don’t get the tools and the education to confront the real world, and what happens when they have to deal with it themselves. The musical centered around a multitude of heavy topics, such as suicide and sexual assault, and producer Rachelle Montilus ‘24, in collabortation with intimacy coordinator Isabel Moletierri ‘23, director Alegra Secor ‘23 and choreographer Christine Zak ‘23, worked to cover these subjects with care. Voices of Strength (VOS), was positioned just outside the Event Space for those who needed support throughout the show.
The production showcased the undeniable talent of the Muhlenberg Community. Secor made sure that the actors felt safe every step of the rehearsal process, saying that they “used different psychological techniques in order to better the actors’ experience and better handle all of the challenging themes in the show.”
Moletierri expressed that she “was really grateful to get the chance to experience what it is like to intimacy coordinate a production in a college setting, because this is a job I am really interested in exploring post-grad.” She added, “It is so amazing that ATR was able to give so many opportunities for students to serve in roles both on and off stage they might not have been able to experience otherwise.”
Secor added, “We were told that the department didn’t want to do the show because they didn’t think that students could handle the content, which I think is fascinating because most of the content in the show, we’ve already lived through it.”
While actors sang about the “Bitch of Living,” they danced along to the music of a live pit full of student musicians. With the musical direction of Arielle Touitou ’24 and Daisy Cunningham ‘25, the live music added an extra layer to the show.
Audience member Emma Teske ‘25 commented, “The band was incredible! Having a live band on stage adds such a cool element to any show and I think it worked so well for ‘Spring Awakening.’ The band was incredibly talented and was able to heighten everything about the show!”
“It is so amazing that ATR was able to give so many opportunities for students to serve in roles both on and off stage they might not have been able to experience otherwise.”-Isabel Moletierri ’23
Audience members thought the show was well done. Bryson Brunson ’25 said, “It’s great to see what students can do without departmental help,” and that “the cast was so great, they really captured some great moments about the gentleness of the show.”
Cunningham commented, “I honestly had so much fun working on the show. I played guitar and piano in the pit, assistant music directed, and also did the lighting design with my brother, which seems like a lot, but I was really motivated because we all wanted the show to be the best it could be. There were certainly a lot of barriers—our original set designer and lighting designers quit with little notice and no suggestions for replacements, which is why we all had to step in. We also didn’t get as much funding from the SGA as we had hoped, and had to outsource our costumes since we had trouble borrowing from the department. Additionally, the Event Space is certainly not built for theatrical performances, so it was certainly difficult to try to transform it into that kind of an environment.”
However, ATR was able to receive some help from ‘Berg Production, and manager Jonah Adamcik ‘19 expressed that “the students did all of this. I was just here to make sure everything fell into place and to make sure the cues worked, to make sure we were able to add some lighting stuff to it. The student leadership team behind this is really what made this happen. ‘Berg Production is always happy to support art and support the arts here at Muhlenberg. We’re happy to support shows and produce shows like this. But really the story here is what the students have done on stage. And it shows–this was really a great show, and I’m hoping to do many more of them in the future.”
The Civic Theatre of Allentown also donated wireless microphones for the “Spring Awakening” cast to use.
Montilus reflected back to when she first saw a run of the show, and explained that she started tearing up, “Because I was like, oh my God, this is worth it. Being able to sit down and watch the actors do what they do best, and watch all the beautiful things that the director, the orchestra and choreographer have done–it’s just super fulfilling. It was very emotional.”
Actor Alec Gould ‘26, who played Ernst, expressed that performing the show “was so much fun. Being backstage was absolutely amazing. The energy was fucking electric. I had the most fun that I think I’ve ever had on stage in this production.” He added, “I’ve taken on some of the most difficult content I’ve ever had to take on onstage in this production, and I would not have traded it for the world.”
Evie Carlin ‘24, who played Wendla, added, “Working on this show has been so much fun. I’ve gotten so close with the cast and crew, and through the rehearsal process I have genuinely fallen in love with the show and the important story it tells.”
Simone Kaye ‘23 said, “It was such an exciting experience to finally perform this show–we have been rehearsing since essentially the very beginning of this semester and we have been working so hard, so to finally have it come together in front of an audience was wonderful.”
Secor highlighted that this production was an incredible feat. “It was student-produced, student-directed, and student-acted. It is a fully student-run production and you can’t do this show any other way.”
Harry Glicklin ’26 said that his favorite part of the show was “the musical numbers. Everyone was so talented— the cast and the pit; [it was] such a fun time.” He continued, “I hope to see more shows from ATR in the future!”