Theatre in the Park will kick off its 2012-13 season on Sept. 7th with the Triangle premiere of the 2009 Tony Award®- and 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama-winning rock musical Next to Normal on Sept. 7-9, 13-16, and 21-23 in the Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre in west Raleigh, NC. This community-theater presentation will be directed by Cody Cunningham, with music direction by Nancy Whelan.
Next to Normal features music and lyrics by Tom Kitt and a book by Brian Yorkey. After several workshop performances, Next to Normal premiered Off Broadway on Feb. 13, 2008 at the Second Stage Theatre, where it closed on March 16, 2008. The show won 2008 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Score.
Next to Normal made its Broadway debut, directed by Michael Greif, with musical staging by Sergio Trujillo, on April 15, 2009 at the Booth Theatre, where it played for 733 performances before closing on Jan. 16, 2011. Nominated for eleven 2009 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score Written for the Theatre, the show won three Tonys, plus the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The Pulitzer Board haled Next to Normal as “a powerful rock musical that grapples with mental illness in a suburban family and expands the scope of subject matter for musicals.”
According to Theatre in the Park:
“The most powerful musical of the decade makes its Triangle debut at Theatre in the Park! Enchanting audiences worldwide with a thrilling contemporary pop rock score, Next to Normal delivers an emotional and hopeful story of the Goodman family as they cope through illness, loss, and grief.
“Electrifying the New York stage in 2009, Next to Normal grabs at the heart and never lets it go. The Goodmans are your typical, normal American family – almost. Diana [played for TIP by Jessika Brust] is a mother suffering through her internal pain while trying to find a way to resolve it. Children, Gabe and Natalie [Aaron Miller and Kelsey Walston], are complete opposites, Gabe the golden boy and Natalie the rebellious teen.
“Meanwhile, Diana’s husband Dan [Ken Griggs] is desperately trying to just hold the family together the best way he can. With much love, determination, and patience, the Goodman family discovers that even though they may not be ‘normal,’ they can be ‘next to normal.’
“‘Next to Normal is just such a genuinely human piece of drama. We often clamor to musical theater to be taken on a journey far away from our own problems, but this show diverges from the beaten path of most commercial theatre,’ says director Cody Cunningham. “It’s likely to reach an emotional chord that an audience usually doesn’t have to worry about protecting while enjoying a ‘Broadway musical.’ There’s an intimacy and vulnerability to it.
“The fact that it even ended up on Broadway is strange in many ways,” claims Cody Cunningham. “[It was] certainly a gamble for the producers, but one that absolutely paid off. Marrying such true-to-life hardships to the rebellion of a contemporary rock score is key here. These characters live right here with us. These are real people with real problems and their beautiful story is one that so deserves to be shared.”
“Cunningham has assembled an exceptional ensemble cast. Jessika Brust, last seen in Theatre in the Park‘s A Christmas Carol as Mrs.Cratchit, is Diana Goodman. Ken Griggs is her solid-as-a-rock husband, Dan. The rest of the cast includes newcomer Aaron Miller as Gabe, Kelsey Walston as Natalie, Dalton Hood as Henry, and finally Kevin Ferguson as Dr. Madden and Dr. Fine.
“Theatre in the Park is honored to have the esteemed Dr. Assad Meymandi provide a talk-back after the Sept. 22nd performance. Please join us for this exciting and eye-opening event…. This production contains strong language.
“About Theatre in the Park: Theatre in the Park, located in the northern end of Raleigh’s scenic Pullen Park adjacent to North Carolina State University, has been entertaining audiences since 1947. Theatre in the Park is one of North Carolina’s largest nonprofit performing arts organizations and is acclaimed for its numerous outstanding theatrical achievements. Each season, Theatre in the Park presents an exceptional series of productions including the very best in comedy, original musicals, Shakespeare, and contemporary drama.
Theatre in the Park presents NEXT TO NORMAL at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7 and 8, 3 p.m. Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13-15, and 3 p.m. Sept. 16, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 and 22, and 3 p.m. Sept. 23 in the Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre, 107 Pullen Rd., Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.
TICKETS: $28 ($22 students, seniors 60+, and active-duty military personnel).
BOX OFFICE: 919/831-6058 or http://www.etix.com/.
Tom Kitt: http://americantheatrewing.org/biography/detail/tom_kitt/ (American Theatre Wing) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Kitt_(musician) (Wikipedia).
Brian Yorkey: http://americantheatrewing.org/biography/detail/brian_yorkey (American Theatre Wing) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Yorkey (Wikipedia).
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