Play by Play
Youth's Rude Awakening, in Musical Form
Patrick Pacheco. E-mail Patrick Pacheco at

Duncan Sheik, who's been compared to James Taylor and who has been earning raves for his new acoustic album, "Phantom Moon," may be the next pop singer to enter the Broadway arena with his musical adaptation of Franz Wedekind's "Spring Awakening."

The musical, based on the 19th-century tragedy about young people caught in a vortex of repression and hypocrisy, is a collaboration between Sheik and playwright Steven Sater, who wrote the lyrics for the songs on "Phantom Moon." The show, directed by Michael Mayer, is being workshopped at the Roundabout in June before a pre-Broadway regional bow.

"I've been haunted by 'Spring Awakening' for years," says Sater, who brought the project to Sheik. "And we both felt that it was timely in its youthful yearnings and the fact that society is totally ignorant about what its children are feeling."

Wedekind's 1891 German play is remarkably frank about sexual confusion, date rape, abortion and suicide. Given the subject matter, Sheik and Sater have an unusual concept for the musical. The scenes are set in the 19th century but the songs, staged as interior monologues, are expressed in "millennial terms," Sheik says. "The score is electronic, the kids have this know-how and information from the Internet. But they're still just as emotionally clueless."

Feels like I'm HOME.