The Arts

Next to Normal

Next to Normal featured image

Reviewed by Paula Citron

Next to Normal
Dancap Productions
Composed by Tom Kitt
Book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey
Directed by Michael Greif
Performed by Alice Ripley, Asa Somers, Curt Hansen, Emma Hunton, Preston Sadleir and Jeremy Kushnier
Four Seasons Centre
Jul. 19 to 30, 2011

The Broadway hit Next to Normal won both the 2009 Tony Award for best score, and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It is a very ambitious show because it tackles mental illness in a musical format.

Alice Ripley, repeating her Tony Award-winning, Best Actress in a Musical performance, plays the delusional Diana Goodman who has been manic depressive since the death of her infant son 18 years ago. Her husband Dan and daughter Natalie have had to cope with her illness. Diana has been medicated to the hilt and also faces electric shock therapy. Not exactly the stuff of musicals!

Tom Kitt’s mostly soft rock music, and Brian Yorkey’s lyrics do flesh out the story through song. Michael Greif’s direction covers three floors of scaffolding.

The musical certainly held my attention, and the cast is excellent. I’m in the minority, but I just wasn’t blown away by the grand ambition.

Next to Normal continues at the Four Seasons Centre until Jul. 30.

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