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Riabko drops out of Spring Awakening tour

Kyle Riabko, the young Saskatoon-born singer-songwriter who made his professional stage debut as a replacement lead in S pring Awakening on Broadway last May, has dropped out of the show's Toronto run only days before it begins performances. Sources told The Globe and Mail he had been offered a part in the pilot for Limelight , an ABC-TV musical drama set in a New York City performing arts high school. The Fame -style show is being produced by Joseph "McG" McGinty Nichol ( Charlie's Angels ).

The TV shoot will likely last until the end of the Spring Awakening run in Toronto, which is currently scheduled for March 17 to April 19.

Spring Awakening is a rock-'n'-roll adaptation of the controversial Frank Wedekind play about youth in repressive late-19th-century Germany. Adapted by Steven Sater and the pop composer Duncan Sheik, the show won eight Tony Awards, including best musical in 2007. It concluded a two-year run in January.

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Riabko's withdrawal means that Steffi D., a Canadian Idol alumnus from Orleans, Ont., is the only Canadian remaining in the Toronto production. She plays Ilse, an outcast teen.

Riabko had big shoes to fill when he took on the part of Melchior, a sensitive and intelligent teenager who rails against the hypocrisy of his elders. He was following heartthrob Jonathan Groff, who had originated the role and become a favourite of the teenaged girls who lined the street outside the Eugene O'Neill Theatre's stage door waiting for a glimpse of the actor after performances. With his boyish good looks, though, Riabko attracted his own following.

After two and a half months in the role on Broadway, Riabko joined the Spring Awakening national tour when it began last September. Despite his departure from the Toronto run, Bravo Canada is still scheduled to air a documentary on March 15 that follows his path from the Prairies to Broadway.

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About the Author
Senior Media Writer

Simon Houpt is the Globe and Mail's senior media writer, charged with covering the industry's transformation. He began his career with The Globe in 1999 as the paper's New York arts correspondent, covering the cultural life of that city through Canadian eyes. More


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