Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik worked for eight years to create Spring Awakening, the rock musical about angsty teens dealing with the “bitch of living” in 19th-century Germany. In 2007, the show won a total of eight Tony awards — including Best Musical — which is one of many reasons that Rise showrunner Jason Katims selected Spring Awakening as the production Rise‘s high school director Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor) chooses to stage throughout season 1 of the NBC drama. Only, Lou’s bringing a slightly altered version of the show to his small town — and that’s all thanks to Katims, who reached out to Sater and Sheik to see if they’d be willing to write a new tune for the series’ production.
“Jason called me and asked if Duncan and I would consider writing a new song,” Sater recalls. “I said, ‘Do you mean a new song for Rise or a new Spring Awakening song?’ And he said, ‘Both.’ I was intrigued, but I had to think about it for a while.” After all, Sater and Sheik hadn’t worked on Spring Awakening since what Sater estimates was 2007. Yet the more they talked to Katims, the more they could envision what the new song could offer. “He wanted a song that had tempo to it,” Sater says of Katims. “And as he talked about the love story line [on Rise] mirroring the Wendla-Melchior story line, I imagined a beat in the show where Melchior and Wendla are apart and are communicating by journal — they feel all these things for each other that they can’t say to each other.”
The result is a song titled “All You Desire,” which Sater describes as a “wedding hymn,” though no one’s getting married in the moment. “It’s actually a little bit more on the electronic side,” adds Sheik. The message of it is simple: “I will be your everything. Project all your longing onto me and I can contain it. I can contain you as well as me,” Sater says.
Once Sater finished the lyrics, Sheik wrote the music. Altogether the process took a few weeks, at which point they emailed the song to Katims. “I was blown away that, after this one brief conversation with Steven, this beautiful song became a reality,” Katims says. Now “All You Desire” will debut in Rise‘s season 1 finale, featuring vocals by cast members Auli’i Cravalho, Damon J. Gillespie, Amy Forsyth, and Ted Sutherland.
Get an exclusive sneak peek at some of the song’s sheet music below:
Rise airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.
—Additional reporting by Jessica Derschowitz