(© Michael Portantiere)
(© Michael Portantiere)
Cast members of the hit Broadway rock musical Spring Awakening and The N's hit TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation appeared on stage at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre (home of Spring Awakening) on Monday afternoon, April 30, for a "verbal mashup" on teen issues of today vs. yester-year.

Zach Braff of NBC-TV's Scrubs warmed up the crowd and introduced the female ensemble of Spring Awakening in a performance of "Mama Who Bore Me" from the show. Then TV and Broadway star Rosie O'Donnell brought on the panelists for the discussion, during which such topics as date rape, academic pressure, abusive parents, and sexual identity were covered.

On stage for the discussion were Spring Awakening cast members Jonathan Groff, Lea Michele, John Gallagher, Jr., Lilli Cooper, Gideon Glick, and Remy Zaken, and Degrassi stars Aubrey Graham, Shane Kippel, Lauren Collins, Stacey Farber, Adamo Ruggiero, and Mike Lobel. Clips from both the musical and the TV series were screened.

Some 500 teens from the tri-state area filled the theater and participated in the open forum, as did teen specialist Dr. Tiffany Brown. The live event was recorded by AOL's teen site RED; clips will appear online on both AOL Red and The-N.com in mid-May.

Spring Awakening, with music by singer/songwriter Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Steven Sater, is based on Frank Wedekind's groundbreaking 19th-century play about the pleasures and pains of adolescence. Productions of the show are planned for the United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Japan, Korea, and Australia; in addition, a U.S. national tour is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2008.

Degrassi: The Next Generation is a dramatic series that tackles tough issues faced by high school and post-high school age youth. For more information, visit www.The-N.com.