Dynamic Duo

Spring Awakening Duo Katie Boeck & Sandra Mae Frank Discuss the Beauty and Connection of Their Shared Wendla

November 12th, 2015 by

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Spring Awakening Duo Katie Boeck & Sandra Mae Frank Discu...

The stunning Broadway revival of Spring Awakening begins with Katie Boeck (left) and Sandra Mae Frank (right) passing a dress and a guitar to each other through a mirror, laying the ground work for these two actresses shared connection as leading lady Wendla.

Wendla GIF- Spring Awakening GIF- Katie Boeck GIF- Sandra Mae Frank GIF- mama Who bore me gif

The Deaf West production seamlessly blends ASL (American Sign Language) and voice by having several of the lead roles doubled. Frank plays Wendla and Boeck is her singing and speaking voice. Below, BroadwayBox talks to the dynamic duo about creating a shared character, the importance of their connection and how they bond offstage.



My first impression of my co-star was:

Katie:
Sandy was Sassy! A absolute force to be reckoned with. A girl with a mission. I really loved how she didn’t seem to care what anyone thought of her. She was and is completely herself at all times!

Sandra:
She’s tall and blond, I first said that to myself. We didn’t look alike at all. I think they did that on purpose but we clicked right away, and I knew it was a beautiful beginning of our partner/friendship.


The most important part of our bonding process/character work was:

Katie:
Learning to communicate with one another. The whole concept of our relationship was a complete discovery. Since we share the role, we had to collaborate on how we felt about the character’s choices. In the show, I am her voice, but I am also sort of her conscience-sometimes she calls me her cricket. What I love about our relationship is that it’s less about language and more about feeling. So that fact that I knew very little ASL when we first started rehearsing wasn’t as much of a hindrance—it just forced us to connect emotionally.

Sandra:
Making sure we were together all the way—word by word. When she speaks and I sign, we have to be in sync, not off the beat. Same with singing, I follow her beats but I have my own delivery in ASL (American Sign Language) and it works. It’s what makes us stronger together. We become as one, not against each other.


I think our most memorable performance so far had to have been:

Katie:
To be completely honest—I’ll never forget going on stage the night my father passed away. I found out with no time to prepare our understudy so I decided to go on, especially because I knew that’s what he would have wanted. Sandy was with me every step of the way. My mind was a mess but she held it down and was so focused with me. It was the most surreal night of my life.

Sandra:
(This is a tough one, I have so many moments with her.) But it was when her father passed away, she could’ve missed the show but instead, she decided to do the show that night for him, and I was with her all the way that night. It was raw and the emotions were real. It was a beautiful performance and I am honored to be by her side, my angelic voice with an amazing heart. She inspires me.


My favorite moment onstage with her is:

Katie:
The very beginning. I love the first moment when she hands me my guitar and I hand her her dress. It establishes the concept of actor/voice-actor and sets the tone for the whole show. It’s our pre-show ritual, our way of connecting.

Sandra:
Top of the show before singing/signing “Mama Who Bore Me” where we walk toward each other to the mirror and stare at each other’s body (as of she is my mirror) and I can feel the audience gasping and being in awe of our presence.


I think the biggest way our performances have changed from Deaf West has been:

Katie:
We’ve been working together for over a year now, so we’ve really just grown closer and more confident. I think we’ve learned a lot from each other and settled into ourselves and our character much more than when we first started.

Sandra:
Katie Boeck has stayed by my side from the start. From 99 seats in Skid Row to 500 seats in Beverly Hills to this, on Broadway together... we’ve grown so much for Wendla and how we’ve made it more raw and natural together.


The secret to our performances gelling so well together is:

Katie:
The magic of our togetherness lies in both of us being present. The minute anyone decides to take the lead and do things their own way, the connection gets lost and it becomes disjointed. I try to follow her actions and expressions and I always tell her that no matter what choices she makes I’ll be there to follow her so she can be free and in the moment. That said, she is really good about clueing me in on her feelings as she evolves in the character.

Sandra:
We bring our honesty to the role together and on the stage, we are connected. I can feel her as I do my lines/songs and when we rehearse together, I am really listening to her and we both breathe together. She’s always there for me and I trust her with my life.


Off-stage, my co-star and I bond over:

Katie:
Sandy and I are both similar in that we are kind of Tom-boys. We just like to relax, have a drink and eat some good food.

Sandra:
Doing performances together outside of Spring Awakening. We usually get invited to private events and perform “Mama Who Bore Me” and during those times, we would chat about random things and I’d learn new things about her and it just makes me love her even more.


I’m in awe of my co-star’s ability to:

Katie:
Command an entire room with her presence. Sometimes I forget she is deaf because she is so outspoken. She gets what she wants! In true Wendla fashion...

Sandra:
Work beautifully with me. She is amazing to work with and I love her for being able to do her thing on the stage and still be with me at the same time.


If I had to describe Wendla in three words, she is:

Katie:
Curious, Fearless, Forgiving.

Sandra:
Inquisitive, Courageous and Beautiful.


If I had to describe my co-star in a song, it would be:

Katie:
Invincible” by Pat Benatar

Sandra:
This song, “Hero” by Mariah Carey because of her beautiful strength and she continues to amaze me.

Wendla GIF- Spring Awakening GIF- Katie Boeck GIF- Sandra Mae Frank GIF

Hurry over to Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre to see Katie Boeck and Sandra Mae Frank's beautiful and captivating performances in Spring Awakening.