Jonathan Groff And Lea Michele Reflect On ‘Spring Awakening’ And Its Lifesaving Legacy

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Years before “Glee” catapulted them to Hollywood fame, Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele were the toast of Broadway as the stars of the hit musical “Spring Awakening.” The two actors revisited that show last year in a 15th anniversary benefit concert that’s been captured for posterity in a new documentary.

HuffPost got a sneak peek at HBO’s “Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known” via the clip above. In it, Groff and Michele join co-stars Lilli Cooper and Lauren Pritchard in sharing candid thoughts about the 2006 musical, which offered a forward-thinking take on teen sexuality, mental health and sexual assault.

“This material saves lives,” Groff explains in the clip. “Some girl wrote [actor] John Gallagher Jr. and said: ‘I didn’t kill myself because of your character in this show.’”

Adds Cooper: “I think that’s what got us through it every night, knowing how important it was to tell that story.”

From left: actors John Gallagher Jr., Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in “Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known.”

Directed by Michael John Warren, “Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known” goes behind the scenes of the much-buzzed-about “Spring Awakening” reunion concert, staged last fall at New York’s Imperial Theatre under strict COVID-19 protocols. The documentary features chilling live performances of songs like “Touch Me” and “Left Behind,” as well as archival footage from the early 2000s showing the young cast in rehearsal with composer Duncan Sheik and lyricist Steven Sater.

“Spring Awakening” devotees are likely to appreciate the film’s emphasis on the ties that still bind many of the musical’s stars ― particularly Groff and Michele, who share some especially intimate memories.

“I’m so proud of this documentary because it’s a great opportunity for people to get to know us for who we really are, not what you see on social media or what you read or what you see on television,” Michele told Variety in an interview published Wednesday.

“I was opening up and talking about things in regards to my relationship with Jonathan, stories from my life and our life together in ways that I didn’t think I would. But they’re all true, and this is part of our experience and our journey together.”

“Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known” premieres May 3 on HBO.


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