'Spring Awakening' and Deaf West's unlikely road to three Tony nominations

From its humble start in a small theater space in downtown Los Angeles to its three Tony Award nominations on Tuesday, including a nod for musical revival, Deaf West’s production of “Spring Awakening” qualifies as this Broadway season’s little theater production that could.

The innovative staging, which combines sign-language and spoken delivery, didn’t have New York on its radar when it opened at Los Angeles’ Inner-City Arts in 2014.

“It was never in the cards,” said Michael Arden, who staged the musical and received a Tony nomination for his direction. The plan was “just to make it a local production and to just get it through the run.”

The production at Inner-City Arts received funding in part from a Kickstarter campaign, and “we didn’t even have a place to stage our production until well into rehearsal,” recalled David J. Kurs, artistic director of Deaf West Theatre. 

‘Spring Awakening’ and Deaf West’s unlikely road to three Tony nominations

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