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Lea Michele on the thrill of introducing 'Spring Awakening' to new generation

Michele reunited with the original cast of the 2006 musical, including Jonathan Groff and John Gallagher Jr., to perform at the 2022 Tony Awards.
75th Annual Tony Awards - Show
Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele perform onstage with the original cast of "Spring Awakening" at the 75th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 12, 2022 in New York City.Theo Wargo / Getty Images

It's been over 16 years since "Spring Awakening" landed on Broadway, garnering critical acclaim and establishing a devoted fan base.

For original stars Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff and John Gallagher Jr., the show is still fresh: The entire original cast of the show recently came together for a reunion concert and HBO documentary entitled "Those You've Known."

Related story: Lea Michele and John Gallagher Jr. reflect on the legacy of ‘Spring Awakening’ 16 years later

On Sunday night, the trio and the rest of the cast performed live on the Tony Awards, more than a decade after the original musical took home eight of the theater world's biggest awards.

On the red carpet ahead of the ceremony, Michele, Groff and Gallagher Jr. spoke to TODAY about the night’s performance.

John Gallagher Jr., Lea Michele, and Jonathan Groff
(L-R) John Gallagher Jr., Lea Michele, and Jonathan Groff attend the 75th Annual Tony Awards.Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

"You’re going see the entire original cast of 'Spring Awakening' and the entire original band," Michele teased of the performance, while Gallagher Jr. joked that they were actually preparing to perform the entire two-hour musical.

"We'll see how far we get before they cut to commercial," he teased.

In reality, the cast performed one song: "Touch Me." The onstage performance also featured stars like Skylar Astin and Gideon Glick.  

"It just feels incredibly lucky, in the fact that this show caught on the way it did 15 years ago, and that we're still talking about it and celebrating it and being able to get together and perform it," said Gallagher Jr. "15 years later, it just feels like such a gift."

A revival of the show also ran on Broadway for a limited run in 2015, and was nominated for three Tony Awards. None of the original cast appeared in the production staged by Deaf West, which blended music and American Sign Language.

Now in their 30s, the trio were in their late teens and early 20s when the show opened in 2006.

Lea Michele, left, Jonathan Groff, center, and John Gallagher Jr.
Lea Michele, left, Jonathan Groff, center, and John Gallagher Jr. pose outside the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York, Dec. 1, 2006. Tina Fineberg / AP

Michele said that it was incredible to have been part of such an iconic show so early in her career.

"We were so fortunate to have really made such an impact," she said.

Before the Tonys performance, she said that she hoped the onstage reunion would introduce the show to a whole new generation of theatergoers.

"We came before the age of social media, so there really is this generation that isn't privy to 'Spring Awakening,'" she said. "To just reintroduce this or introduce this show a musical to this generation, for us, is the greatest gift."