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After 15 years, the original cast of Spring Awakening came back together for a one-night-only concert to benefit the Actors Fund. And the entire reunion was documented for the upcoming HBO film, Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known, which features all-new, revealing interviews with stars Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff and John Gallagher Jr. and captures what it was like to reconnect during an unlikely time for everyone.
Ahead of the film’s debut on May 3, only ET has an exclusive preview of the emotional reunion as Michele rehearses her character, Wendla’s, opening solo number, “Mama Who Bore Me.”
“We have three rehearsal days and then we’re gonna perform it on stage, so I’m scared,” she says in the clip. “I told Jonathan I haven’t been that nervous or anxious since the day my son was born.”
Michele adds, “It was a tsunami of emotions.”
“Watching her sing that song, I was like, ‘Oh my god. I saw this 19-year-old memory and just lost my mind,’” says Groff, who is overcome with feelings during the rehearsal.
The clip only offers a tiny glimpse into the deep bond that formed between Michele and Groff, who starred in the 2006, Tony Award-winning coming-of-age rock musical from musician Duncan Sheik and lyricist Steven Sater. Both actors originated the roles alongside Gallagher and the rest of the ensemble of young actors, including Lauren Pritchard, Jonathan B. Wright, Lilli Cooper, Gideon Glick, Skylar Astin, Brian Charles Johnson, Phoebe Strole and Remy Zaken.
Getting back together offered the cast, particularly Michele and Groff, a chance to share lots of memories and untold stories about the production. For the two leads, that meant reliving some more revealing moments, like the time Michele flashed Groff.
“At one point, I literally showed him my whole vagina,” Michele says in the documentary, explaining, “That’s how close we are… But I’ve never seen Jonathan naked. I’ve never seen his penis.”
The revelation comes to Groff’s surprise, who says, “I can confirm that.”
Given the intense sexual nature of the show, both were navigating feelings for each other while Groff was discovering his true identity as a gay man. “I was also afraid that if people knew who I was, they wouldn’t find what I was doing believable," he says later, referring to the fact that his character, Melchior, falls for Wendla after the two start exploring their sexuality together.
Groff adds, “Lea and I were so young, we were still figuring out who we were. We were playing these parts, but we were working sh*t out with each other.”
As a result, there were times when the lines between life on stage and off seemed to blur. “Lea and I, we were grasping onto each other, we were really in love,” Groff says at one point, with Michele revealing that she was “so in love with him.”
Michele eventually confronted Groff over her feelings, finally learning the reality of the situation between her and Groff. “I realized in that moment, ‘This is the end.’ And I need to protect this. This is intense,” she shares. “And I never asked him again about his sexuality and it was sort of this -- I think he felt safe with me because he knew that I knew and that we could be best friends, and our relationship just grew and grew to the point that we would do the show and then we would go home together.”
Michele explains, “That’s why Jonathan and I became so close. We were so intertwined.”