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CAST’s Spring Awakening show to be followed by talkback sessions with Lindner Center of HOPE


When the curtains close on Commonwealth Artists Student Theatre’s (CAST’s) upcoming Spring Awakening production, the show’s participants and audience will be left with difficult questions about mental health issues raised in the performance.

Tracy Cummings, MD, Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Lindner Center of HOPE, and Dr. Lorene Walter, MD, Medical Director of Mindful Transitions at the Lindner Center of HOPE will be participating in a unique event through talkback sessions following CAST performances of Spring Awakening.

Talkback sessions will take place following the 2 p.m. performance on Sunday, July 21 (approximately 4:30 p.m.) and following Saturday, July 27th’s 7:30 p.m. performance (approximately 9:30 p.m.) at Highlands High School in Fort Thomas.

Dr. Cummings will appear with the July 21 panel. Dr. Walter will appear with the July 27 panel.

“This show can be a vehicle for starting a dialogue about preventative mental healthcare and communication between teens and adults,” said Amy Burgess, CAST executive director and choreographer. “The issues discussed are relevant to problems faced by teens today. With involvement from 25 area high schools, we hope to change the stigma of talking about these difficult issues.”

Lindner Center of HOPE staff psychiatrist Brett C. Plyer, M.D., visited the cast early in the rehearsal process to talk about the themes present in the show.

“The Center’s involvement was sparked when CAST recognized that engaging the students directly on the topic of mental health can create a more honest production for the audience and community,” said Dr. Plyler. “We discussed the reality of mental illness in our community and how their portrayals can best represent the issues.”

The post-show panel discussions include a Lindner Center clinician, cast member and the production director who will discuss mental health issues presented in the show and healthy ways of dealing with the issues – in the characters’ world and our own.

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“By providing a safe environment for the exploration of feelings and emotions related to controversial themes, families can benefit from thoughtful conversation and expert perspectives during these talkback sessions,” said Dr. Plyler.

The Lindner Center of HOPE will also offer information about the Center’s programs and services for families with additional questions.

Spring Awakening is a Tony Award-winning musical based on an 1891 German play by Frank Wedekind. The musical explores youth and self-discovery in turn-of-the-century Germany and features a rock score.

Mental illness is the #1 health problem facing our nation. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffer with mental illness – 2.5 times more Americans suffer from mental illness than cancer, heart disease, and diabetes combined.

A Synopsis of the musical:

Spring Awakening is set in Germany, 1891, a world where the grown-ups hold all the cards. The beautiful young Wendla explores the mysteries of her body and wonders aloud where babies come from… until Mama tells her to shut it and put on a proper dress. Elsewhere, the brilliant and fearless young Melchior interrupts a mind-numbing Latin drill to defend his buddy, Moritz – a boy so traumatized by puberty that he can’t concentrate on anything… not that the Headmaster cares. He strikes them both and tells them to turn in their lesson. One afternoon, in a private place in the woods, Melchior and Wendla meet by accident and soon find within themselves a desire unlike anything they’ve ever felt. As they fumble their way into one another’s arms, Moritz flounders and soon fails out of school. When even his one adult friend, Melchior’s mother, ignores his plea for help, he is left so distraught that he can’t hear the promise of life offered by his outcast friend, Ilse. Naturally, the Headmasters waste no time in pinning the “crime” of Moritz’s suicide on Melchior to expel him. And soon, Mama learns that her little Wendla is pregnant. Now the young lovers must struggle against all odds to build a world together for their child.

Spring Awakening deals with strong language and mature situations.

Purchase tickets here.


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One Comment

  1. Harold A Maio says:

    ___With involvement from 25 area high schools, we hope to change the stigma of talking about these difficult issues.”

    So long as you instruct people to direct the term stigma, you will remain a significant part to the problem.

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