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“Surprising and exceptional performances from the entire cast.”
– Richard Green, TalkinBroadway

“Scorching intensity, dotted with dark humor.”
– Andrea Torrence, St. Louis Theatre Snob

“New Line Theatre’s Next to Normal is nothing less than extraordinary.”
– Kevin Brackett, ReviewSTL

“New Line Theatre sets the local standard for musical theatre. . . This is a show you must see.”
– Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld

“Amazing acting and singing. . . an affecting and thought-provoking night of theatre.”
– Laura Kyro, KDHX

“Everything about it is outstanding.” – Steve Allen, StageDoorSTL

 

 

From the composer of High Fidelity comes the most adult, most mature rock musical to hit Broadway in decades, an unrelentingly intense, brutally honest – and often, darkly funny – story about a bipolar woman and the family that grapples with her illness, all set to a hard driving rock and roll score that explodes with raw, searing emotion. Rolling Stone called it “the best new musical of the season – by a mile.”

 

New Line Theatre's 22nd season continued with the first St. Louis production of the powerhouse rock musical NEXT TO NORMAL, winner of the Tony Award for best score and the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

 

The New Line cast included Kimi Short (Diana), Jeffrey M. Wright (Dan), Mary Beth Black (Natalie), Ryan Foizey (Gabe), Joseph McAnulty (Henry), and Zachary Allen Farmer (Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine). The show was directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy, with costume design by Amy Kelly, lighting design by Sean Savoie, scenic design by Scott L. Schoonover, and music direction by Justin Smolik.

 

Next to Normal began its life in 1998 as a ten-minute workshop sketch called Feeling Electric. Writer Brian Yorkey had brought the idea to composer Tom Kitt (High Fidelity, Bring It On) while both were at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. Both Yorkey and Kitt moved on to other projects, but they kept returning to their ten-minute piece, eventually expanding it to full-length. This version went through several workshops as the team kept working on it. In September 2005, an abbreviated version of the full-length piece was part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival, where it attracted some attention. Second Stage Theatre in New York workshopped the piece in 2006 and 2007, with director Michael Greif (Rent, Peter and the Starcatcher, Jane Eyre, Grey Gardens) at the helm.


The show opened off Broadway in 2008, now retitled Next to Normal¸ where it ran barely a month. Still it won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Score, and it was nominated for two other Outer Critics Circle Awards (including Best New Off Broadway Musical), three Lucille Lortel Awards, two Drama League Awards, and two Drama Desk Awards. But the team kept working. Another new version of the show was then given a regional theatre production at the Arena Stage in its temporary theatre in Crystal City, Virginia, from November 2008 through January 2009. Greif returned as director. Finally, though no one expected it, the show began previews on Broadway in March 2009, and ran 754 performances.

 

The New York Times said about it, "No show on Broadway right now makes as direct a grab for the heart -- or wrings it as thoroughly -- as Next to Normal does. This brave, breathtaking musical focuses squarely on the pain that cripples the members of a suburban family, and never for a minute does it let you escape the anguish at the core of their lives." With a searing, ground-breaking rock score, this is an emotional powerhouse of a musical about a family trying to take care of themselves and each other in the midst of one woman's fierce battle with bipolar disorder. It's one of the most emotional, most intense musicals in years."

 

New Line's Next to Normal

 

 

the original title of Next to Normal

Want to explore more? We recommend:

The Next to Normal Broadway cast album, vocal selections, script, and yes, even an N2N karaoke CD

The website for the limited Next to Normal national tour, including reviews, merchandise, audio and video links, and much more.

Director Scott Miller's background and analysis essay

Some Next to Normal video clips on YouTube and the official N2N YouTube channel

The original production's ground-breaking "Twitter Performance" of the show, which played out the action of the story in real time, over Twitter.

The excellent documentary Up/Down and the excellent book, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

New Line Theatre's Next to Normal Blogs

Links to all the New York reviews of the show on the Did He Like It site