Local music teacher part of UMaine's award-winning production of 'Spring Awakening'

Former UMaine graduate student Craig Ouellette, now a music teacher at Camden-Rockport Middle School, was the musical director for the play
Posted:  Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 10:15pm

ORONO — The University of Maine School of Performing Arts' 2013 production of "Spring Awakening" has been named a New England Theatre Conference Moss Hart Memorial Award winner. Camden-Rockport Middle School music teacher Craig Ouellette, a former UMaine graduate student, was the musical director for the play.

UMaine staged writer Duncan Sheik's and lyricist Steven Sater's Tony Award-winning rock musical "Spring Awakening" in February in Hauck Auditorium. Sheik and Sater based their Broadway hit on Frank Wedekind's play of the same name first performed in 1906 in Germany. It depicts teenagers seeking to understand sexuality in an oppressive culture.

Tom Mikotowicz, UMaine professor of theatre who directed the show, will attend the NETC Convention awards banquet Oct. 26 in Natick, Mass. to accept the College and University Theatre Division plaque.

In addition to Ouellette, others involved in the production included UMaine assistant professor Dan Bilodeau, who was the set designer, and Fredrick "Birdie" Sawyer, dance faculty member, and Sam Borer, Hip-Hop Club president, who choreographed the show.

Mikotowicz says he selected the production because of its power to evoke interesting discussion and the juxtaposition between historical scenes and modern rock songs. Approximately 75 actors, dancers, musicians and crew members participated in the complex technical production. Mikotowicz says it was a valuable collaborative learning experience for students who worked to pull off the big-scale production.

Reviewers indicated the cast and crew pulled it off well. In The Maine Campus, Cameron Paquette said the opening-night performance "brought thunderous applause from the crowd." In The Maine Edge, Allen Adams wrote that the production was "the best kind of academic theater -- both challenging and entertaining."

The annual Moss Hart Memorial Award honors the memory of actor and director Moss Hart. It recognizes outstanding regional theatrical productions that present "affirmative views of human courage and dignity, that have strong literary and artistic merit ... (and) exemplify fresh, imaginative, creative treatment."