Next to Normal
|Next to Normal|
original Broadway poster art
2010 US Tour
Various regional and international productions
2012 Buenos Aires
2013 St. Louis, MO
2015 Novara, ITALY
2015 Fürth, Germany
2015 Berlin, Germany
2015 Perth, Australia
|Awards||Pulitzer Prize for Drama|
Next to Normal (styled as next to normal) is a rock musical with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt. Its story concerns a mother who struggles with worsening bipolar disorder and the effect that her illness and the attempts to alleviate it have on her family. The musical also addresses such issues as grieving a loss, suicide, drug abuse, ethics in modern psychiatry, and the underbelly of suburban life.
Next to Normal received several workshop performances before it debuted Off-Broadway in 2008, winning the Outer Critics' Circle Award for Outstanding Score and receiving nominations for Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Actress (Alice Ripley) and Outstanding Score. After an Off-Broadway run, the show then played at the Arena Stage in its temporary venue in Crystal City, VA (just outside Washington, DC) from November 2008 to January 2009.
The musical opened on Broadway in April 2009. It was nominated for eleven 2009 Tony Awards and won three, Best Original Score, Best Orchestration and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for Alice Ripley. It also won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, becoming just the eighth musical in history to receive the honor. The previous musical to win the Pulitzer was Rent, in 1996, which was also directed by Michael Greif. In awarding the prize to Kitt and Yorkey, the Pulitzer Board called the show "a powerful rock musical that grapples with mental illness in a suburban family and expands the scope of subject matter for musicals."
The First US National Tour launched in November 2010, with Alice Ripley reprising her Broadway role; the tour concluded in July 2011. The Broadway production closed in January 2011 after over 700 performances. It has since spawned many international productions.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Musical numbers
- 3 Mental illness in Next to Normal
- 4 Productions
- 5 International
- 6 Casts
- 7 Literary references and allusions
- 8 Pulitzer Prize Controversy
- 9 Awards and nominations
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Suburban mother Diana Goodman waits up late for her curfew-challenged son, Gabe, and comforts her anxious and overachieving daughter, Natalie. It is then morning and Dan, Diana's husband, rises to help prepare the family for "Just Another Day". Everything appears normal until Dan and Natalie realize that the sandwiches Diana is making are covering every surface in the kitchen. As Dan helps the disoriented Diana, the kids hurry off to school and, for Natalie, the refuge of the piano practice room ("Everything Else"). She is interrupted by Henry, a classmate who likes to listen to her play and who is clearly interested in her.
Over the ensuing weeks Diana makes a series of visits to her doctor, while Dan waits in the car outside questioning how to cope with his own depression ("Who's Crazy" / "My Psychopharmacologist and I"). Diana has suffered from bipolar disorder coupled with hallucinations for sixteen years. Doctor Fine continually adjusts her medications until she says she doesn't feel anything, at which point he declares her stable. Natalie and Henry grow closer until one day he professes his love for her ("Perfect For You") and they kiss for the first time. Diana witnesses this and realizes her best years may be behind her, but she misses feeling her high highs and her low lows ("I Miss the Mountains"). With her son's encouragement, she flushes away her medication.
A few weeks later, Dan looks forward to dinner with his family ("It's Gonna Be Good"), to which Henry has been invited to Natalie's dismay. When Diana emerges with a cake singing "Happy Birthday" to her son, Dan and Natalie are devastated. Dan holds Diana and reminds her that their son died sixteen years ago, when he was an infant ("He's Not Here"). Dan mentions a return to the doctor, but Diana refuses, saying he can't possibly hurt the way she does ("You Don't Know"). Dan tries to coax her into trusting him when their son appears, convincing his mother to trust him rather than Dan ("I Am the One"). In her room, Natalie vents her anger to Henry and then refuses Diana's apology as her brother watches and taunts her ("Superboy and the Invisible Girl").
A few days later, Diana starts work with Doctor Madden, attempting a drug-free treatment. As her son tries to assert his presence ("I'm Alive"), Dan and Natalie doubt the sessions are helping, and after an argument Natalie begins experimenting with her mother's medications. Doctor Madden proposes hypnosis to help Diana discover the roots of her trauma ("Make Up Your Mind" / "Catch Me I'm Falling"). The therapy makes a serious impact on her life, and Natalie bombs an important piano recital when she realizes her mother is not present. Finally, Diana agrees it's time to let her son go. Diana goes home to clean out her son's things, pausing to listen to a music box ("I Dreamed a Dance"). Her son dances with her and then invites her to come away with him ("There's a World"). She then tries to kill herself.
At the hospital, Diana lies sedated and restrained, with self-inflicted gashes to her wrists. Doctor Madden explains to Dan that ECT is the standard course of treatment for drug-resistant patients who are imminently suicidal. Dan goes home to clean up after Diana and barely avoids a breakdown ("I've Been"). The next day, Diana lashes out at Doctor Madden, refusing the treatment ("Didn't I See This Movie?"). Dan arrives and convinces her it may be their last hope ("A Light In The Dark").
Diana receives a series of ECT treatments over two weeks. Meanwhile, Natalie explores clubs and drugs, seemingly sharing a hallucination with her mother. ("Wish I Were Here"). Diana returns home from the hospital, but she has lost nineteen years of memory ("Song of Forgetting"). At school, Henry confronts Natalie about her avoiding him, and invites her to the spring formal dance ("Hey #1").
Dan and Diana visit Doctor Madden, who assures them some memory loss is normal ("Seconds and Years") and encourages Dan to use photos, mementoes, and the like to help Diana recover. Dan gathers the family to do so ("Better Than Before"), with minor success, but when Natalie pulls the music box from a pile of keepsakes, he whisks it away, leaving Diana puzzled. Her son appears, unseen ("Aftershocks"), while Diana tells Dan there's something she's desperate to remember that's just beyond her reach. When Henry arrives looking for Natalie, Diana is given great pause, studying his face and asking his age. He reminds her of someone. Unnerved, Henry hurries up to Natalie's bedroom, to convince her to join him at the dance the next night ("Hey #2").
Diana returns to Doctor Madden ("You Don't Know" [Reprise]) who suggests she further explore her history and talk more with her husband. Diana goes home and searches through the boxes of keepsakes, finding the music box, Dan tries to stop her, but the memories of her baby son rush back ("How Could I Ever Forget?"). When Diana confesses remembering her son as a teenager, and demands to know his name, Dan refuses and instead insists they need to return for more treatment ("It's Gonna Be Good" [Reprise]). Henry arrives to pick up Natalie, who has dressed for the dance, just in time for both of them to witness an agitated Dan grab the music box from Diana's hands and smash it to pieces on the floor.
Diana confronts Dan, wondering why he perseveres after how much trouble she's given, while upstairs, Natalie asks Henry the same question ("Why Stay?"). Dan answers, echoed by Henry, both vowing to stay steadfast ("A Promise"). As both couples embrace, Diana and Dan's son reappears ("I'm Alive" [Reprise]) which sends Diana running to Doctor Madden.
Diana asks Doctor Madden what can be done if the medicine won't work. With her questioning comes the realization it is not her brain that's hurting, but her soul ("The Break"). Madden assures her relapse is common, and suggests more ECT ("Make Up Your Mind" / "Catch Me I'm Falling" [Reprise]). Diana refuses. Doctor Madden urges her to continue treatment for her chronic, deadly disease. She thanks him and leaves. Natalie, waiting outside, is distressed to learn her mother has stopped the treatment. Diana explains herself ("Maybe [Next to Normal]"), opening up to her daughter for the first time. She urges Natalie on to the school dance, where Henry awaits to comfort and embrace her ("Hey #3" / "Perfect for You" [Reprise]).
Diana tells Dan she is leaving him, explaining he can't always be there to catch her. She needs to take a risk and deal with things on her own ("So Anyway"). She goes and leaves their son with Dan. As Dan wonders how she could have left him after he stood by her for so long, their son approaches and tells Dan he's not going anywhere ("I Am the One" [Reprise]). Dan grows more distraught until at last he faces the boy and calls him by his name for the first time: Gabriel.
Natalie comes home to find her father sitting alone in the dark, in tears. She comforts him and turns on the lights in the room, before assuring him the two of them will figure things out ("Light"). Henry arrives to study. Natalie tells him Diana has gone to stay with her own parents. Dan visits Doctor Madden hoping to talk about Diana, but Madden instead offers him the name of another mental-health worker. Diana appears, alone and still hurting, but hopeful.
Note: The song titles are not listed in the program
2008 Arena Stage
Mental illness in Next to Normal
Next to Normal follows one woman’s struggle with mental illness and the effect her struggle has on her whole family. Kitt and Yorkey began writing the musical in 2002 and continued all the way through 2008 and there have since been changes in the mental health field with regards to bipolar depressive disorder. In the show, according to Dr. Fine, Diana is said be a “bipolar depressive with delusional episodes”. While at the time that would be an accurate diagnosis, things have since changed, rendering that diagnosis invalid.
The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is a book that outlines all mental disorders and the symptoms necessary for their diagnosis. The APA continually edits this to accommodate new discoveries in the field. In recent years, one of these changes was the changing of classification for bipolar disorder (what was previously known as bipolar depressive disorder or manic-depressive disorder is now known as either bipolar I or bipolar II). Due to this change, Diana would no longer be diagnosed with what Dr. Fine called “bipolar depressive disorder with delusional episodes,” but rather bipolar II with psychotic features—bipolar II referring to her disease and psychotic features referring to added psychotic features she experiences, such as the hallucination of her son Gabe.
Bipolar II is a mood disorder that is characterized by alternating periods of depression with bursts of hypomania and the periods of depression being known as major depressive episodes. In simpler terms, hypomania, or a hypomanic episode, is defined as a distinct period of time of an abnormally elevated mood that lasts for at least one week and is present for the majority of the day. In Next to Normal, Diana experiences an hypomanic episode during “Just Another Day” when she makes an absurd amount of sandwiches in order to "get ahead on lunches." Major depressive episodes are simply distinct periods of time which someone experiences a bout of depression. These usually last at least two weeks and can cause the individual to experience thing such as hypersomnia (sleeping too much), fatigue and loss of energy, and recurring thoughts of death or suicide. These major depressive episodes follow the hypomanic ones. Additionally, the specifier “psychotic features” refers to psychotic symptoms—most often delusions and hallucinations—that are experienced in conjunction with the hypomanic or major depressive episodes.
Bipolar I and II are difficult disorders to diagnose and are often undetected and misdiagnosed, therefore leaving it inadequately treated (Rivas-Vasquez et al., 2002). The average onset of bipolar I is around 18 years of age, but it is largely based upon the individual’s development. Additionally, bipolar I is believed to have some biological/genetic origin.
Bipolar II is a disease that has a high degree of burden and human suffering. It is not a curable disease, it can only be treated and is most often done so through psychopharmacological, psychiatric, and biological means.
First, and arguably most popular, are the psychopharmacological therapies, commonly known as drug therapies. These involved a cocktail of antipsychotic, anticonvulsant, and antidepressant medications, which aim to diminish the patient’s bipolar symptoms. Such drugs include Lithium, Ativan, Valproate, and Valium. This form of treatment is one of the two forms of therapy most prominently seen throughout Next to Normal. And although in Next to Normal, Diana takes a plethora of different drugs at once, doctors do not always recommend patients taking such high amounts of different medications. The song “My Psychopharmacologist and I” is Diana walking through her drug therapies, with Dr. Fine adjusting medications to ultimately baseline her. This form of treatment is also often accompanied by a slew of side effects ranging from dizziness to sexual dysfunction to thoughts of suicide, which are all shown at many points throughout the show.
Another form of treatment for bipolar two is psychotherapy. This is the type of therapy most often associated with mental illness, where patients talk to psychologists and aim to work through their problems. For bipolar II, patients work to maintain a healthy level of day-to-day functioning and curb their manic and depressive episodes. In Next to Normal this is seen through Diana’s sessions with Dr. Madden, her psychologist, where she talks through her struggle to cope with her loss of Gabe and memory.
The third form of treatment is biological treatments, which, for bipolar II is Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) in which seizures are induced by sending an electric current through the brain. This is the second most central form of treatment seen throughout Next to Normal. Diana is convinced to undergo ECT and then loses her memory (including her memory of Gabe), which she slowly gains back. ECT is not, however, a first-round option when it comes to the treatment of bipolar disorder. In fact, ECT is often viewed as a last resort option for treatment, usually considered for manic patients who are incredibly ill and extremely treatment-resistant or whose symptoms include very serious suicidal or psychotic symptoms. This practice holds true in Next to Normal where ECT is only brought up as a treatment option after Diana severely self-harms by cutting after being prompted by her hallucination of Gabe to commit suicide (“I Dreamed a Dance”/”There’s a World”). It was only after Diana’s condition became resistant to drug therapy and she became severely suicidal that Dr. Madden suggested Dan talk to her about using ECT as a treatment option.
The musical began in 1998 as a 10-minute workshop sketch about a woman undergoing electroshock therapy, and its impact on her family, called Feeling Electric. Yorkey brought the idea to Kitt while both were at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. Kitt wrote a rock score for the short piece, which was highly critical of the medical treatment. Both Yorkey and Kitt turned to other projects, but they "kept returning to Feeling Electric", eventually expanding it to a full-length musical. This had a reading in 2002 at the Village Theatre in Issaquah, Washington, then at several venues in New York City, with a cast that included Norbert Leo Butz as Dan, Sherie Rene Scott as Diana, Benjamin Schrader as Gabe, Anya Singleton as Natalie and Greg Naughton as Dr. Madden. A subsequent staged reading was held in late 2002 at the Musical Mondays Theater Lab in New York.
In 2005 it was workshopped again at Village Theatre starring Amy Spanger as Diana, Jason Collins as Dan, Mary Faber as Natalie and Deven May as Dr. Madden. In September 2005, the musical ran at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, with Spanger as Diana, Joe Cassidy as Dan, Annaleigh Ashford as Natalie, Benjamin Schrader as Gabe and Anthony Rapp as Dr. Madden. This attracted the attention of producer David Stone. Second Stage Theatre then workshopped the piece in both 2006 and 2007, featuring Cassidy and then Greg Edelman as Dan, Alice Ripley as Diana, Mary Faber and then Phoebe Strole as Natalie, Rapp as Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine and Skylar Astin as Henry. Meanwhile, at the urging of Stone and director Michael Greif, who had joined the team, the creators focused the show on the family's pain rather than on the critique of the medical establishment.
Off-Broadway and Virginia productions (2008–09)
Next to Normal was first produced Off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre from January 16 through March 16, 2008, directed by Greif, with Anthony Rapp as assistant director and musical staging by Sergio Trujillo. The cast featured Ripley as Diana, Brian d'Arcy James as Dan, Aaron Tveit as Gabe, Jennifer Damiano as Natalie, Adam Chanler-Berat as Henry and Asa Somers as Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine. The surname of the family was changed from Brown to Goodman. Although the show received mixed reviews, at least one reviewer criticized it for pushing an irresponsible message about the treatment of bipolar disorder and for failing to strike the proper balance between pathos and comedy. The critics found the show internally confused, and the team decided to make major changes in both the book and score, including eliminating the original title song, "Feeling Electric". They concentrated the story entirely on the emotions of Diana and her family as they confront bitter truths.
The re-written musical was then given a regional theatre production at the Arena Stage in Crystal City, Virginia, from November 21, 2008 through January 18, 2009, under the direction of Greif. J. Robert Spencer took over the role of Dan while Louis Hobson assumed the roles of Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine, while the remaining Off-Broadway leads returned. The production received rave reviews, with critics noticing that "comic songs and glitzy production numbers" had been replaced by songs that are complementary to the emotional content of the book.
Next to Normal began previews on Broadway at the Booth Theatre on March 27, 2009, with an opening night of April 15. The entire cast from the Arena Stage production returned, once again under the direction of Greif. The musical was originally booked for the larger Longacre Theatre, but, according to producer David Stone, "When the Booth Theatre became available... we knew it was the right space for Next to Normal".
Reviews were very favorable. Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote that the Broadway production is "A brave, breathtaking musical. It is something much more than a feel-good musical: it is a feel-everything musical." Rolling Stone Magazine called it "The best new musical of the season – by a mile." Next to Normal was on the Ten Best of the Year list for 2009 of "Curtain Up".
The show set a new box office record at the Booth Theatre for the week ending January 3, 2010, grossing $550,409 over nine performances. The previous record was held by the 2006 production of Brian Friel's Faith Healer, with a gross of $530,702. One year later, Next to Normal broke that record again during its final week on Broadway (week ending January 16, 2011) grossing $552,563 over eight performances. The producers recouped their initial investment of $4 million a few days after the production's one-year anniversary on Broadway. At the end of its run, Next to Normal grossed $31,764,486, the most out of all the shows that have run at the Booth Theatre, earning double the amount of money as its closest competition, I'm Not Rappaport.
Cast replacements during the run included Marin Mazzie as Diana, Brian d'Arcy James and later Jason Danieley as Dan, Kyle Dean Massey as Gabe and Meghann Fahy as Natalie. John Kenrick wrote in November 2010 that the show "is glowing with breathtaking brilliance as it ends its Broadway run."
Twitter promotional campaign
In May 2009, about six weeks into the Broadway run, Next to Normal began publishing an adapted version of the script over Twitter, the social media network. Over 35 days, the serialized version of the show was published, a single line from a character at a time. The Twitter promotion ended the morning of June 7, 2009, the morning of the 2009 Tony Awards. The initiative earned the musical the 2009 OMMA Award for Best in Show Situation Interactive.
First national tour (2010–11)
Next to Normal began its first national tour of North America and Canada at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California on November 23, 2010. The tour played in 16 cities in the U.S., ending in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on July 30, 2011. Alice Ripley reprised her role as Diana and was joined by Asa Somers as Dan, Emma Hunton as Natalie, Curt Hansen as Gabe, Preston K. Sadleir as Henry and Jeremy Kushnier as Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine.
Note: The following are independent productions of the musical produced internationally and in most cases, in that native language. They also feature the original music, lyrics and book, but changes in other aspects including direction, set design, costume design and choreography.
The European premiere and the first non-English language production opened in September 2010 at the Det Norske Teatret in Oslo, Norway under the direction of Svein Sturla Hungnes. The cast included Heidi Gjermundsen Broch as Diana, Jon Bleiklie Devik as Dan, Frank Kjosås as Gabe, Charlotte Frogner as Natalie, Thomas Bye as Henry and Lasse Kolsrud as Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden. Broch received the 2011 Hedda Award (Norway's highest theatrical accolade) for her portrayal. This production was later re-staged for a Swedish premiere at the Wermland Opera in February 2012. The cast included Cecilie Nerfont as Diana, Christer Nerfont as Dan, Ole Aleksander Bostad Bang as Gabe, Tove Edfeldt and later Mari Fossum as Natalie, Jonas Schlyter as Henry and Melker Sörensen as Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden.
A Finnish production opened in December 2010 in Helsinki, Finland at Studio Pasila, where it ran for one year. The cast included Jonna Järnefelt as Diana, Juha Junttu as Dan, Tuukka Leppänen as Gabe, Vuokko Hovatta as Natalie, Petrus Kähkönen as Henry and Antti Timonen as Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden.
A Swedish-language production opened in September 2012 at Wasa Teater in Vaasa, Finland. The cast included Anna-Maria Hallgarn (Diana), Sören Lillkung (Dan), Markus Lytts (Gabe), Mikaela Tidermark (Natalie), Samuel Harjanne (Henry) and Johan Aspelin (Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden). Another Finnish-language production was staged at the Tampere Workers' Theatre from October 2012 through February 2013.
A Danish production ran from February 2012 until April 2012 at Nørrebro Teater in Copenhagen, Denmark. The cast included Cecilie Stenspil, Troels Lyby, Laus Høybye, Tom Jensen, Kenneth Müller Christensen and Kristine Marie Brendstrup.
A subsequent Swedish production also opened in September 2012 at the City Theatre of Stockholm, Sweden, with Lisa Nilsson as Diana, Dan Ekborg as Dan, Bruno Mitsogiannis as Gabe, Anna Hansson as Natalie, Albin Flinkas as Henry and Fredrik Lycke as Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden. Lycke later replaced an ailing Ekborg, with Alexander Lycke taking over as Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden.
The Asian premiere was staged at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati, Philippines in March 2011 and again in October 2011. The cast included Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as Diana, Jett Pangan as Dan, Felix Rivera as Gabe, Bea Garcia as Natalie, Markki Stroem as Henry and Jake Macapagal as Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden.
The South Korean premiere of the musical using the original Broadway staging by Michael Grief, movement by Sergio Trujillo, lighting design by Kevin Adams, and original tour set by Mark Wendland was directed by Laura Pietropinto, former assistant director of the Broadway production. It was presented by Musical Heaven from November 2011 to February 2012 at the Doosan Arts Center in Seoul, South Korea. The cast included Kolleen Park and Ji-Hyun Kim as Diana, Kyung-Joo Nam and Jung-Yeol Lee as Dan, Ji-Sang Han and Jae-Rim Choi as Gabe and So-yeon Oh as Natalie. A revival of the production, with the same cast, ran from April–May 2013.
The Japanese premiere using the original Broadway staging by Michael Grief, movement by Sergio Trujillo, and original tour set by Mark Wendland was directed by Laura Pietropinto, assistant director of the Broadway production. Produced by Toho Theatricals, the production opened on September 6, 2013 at Theatre Creation in Tokyo and runs through October. The cast included Kei Aran as Diana, Yuji Kishi as Dan, Ryosei Konishi as Gabe, Eri Murakawa as Natalie, Kohei Matsushita as Henry and Shinya Nhiro as Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden.
Next to Normal premiered in Singapore on 5 September 2013, at the Drama Centre Theatre. The cast included Sally Ann Triplett as Diana, Adrian Pang as Dan, Julia Abueva as Natalie, Nathan Hartono as Gabe, Juan Jackson as Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden and Linden Furnell as Henry.
The Australian premiere of the musical by the Melbourne Theatre Company was staged in Melbourne, Australia. Performances began on April 28, 2012, and ran through June 4 (extended from May 28). The cast included Kate Kendall as Diana, Matt Hetherington as Dan, Gareth Keegan as Gabe, Christy Sullivan as Natalie, Benjamin Hoetjes as Henry and Bert LaBonté as Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden.
An Adelaide production, produced by The Factory and Six Foot Something Productions, played at the Opera Studio from 10–26 May 2012. The cast included Rosanne Hosking (Diana), Paul Talbot (Dan), Emma Bargery (Natalie), Mitchell Sanfilippo (Gabe), Scott Reynolds (Henry) and rod Schultz (Doctors Madden & Fine). The director was David Lampard and musical director Peter Johns.
A Brisbane production, produced by Oscar Theatre Co., opened on April 18, 2013 at the QPAC Cremorne Theatre in Brisbane. The cast included Alice Barbery as Diana, Chris Kellett as Dan, Matthew Crowley as Gabe, Siobhan Kranz as Natalie, Tom Oliver as Henry and James Gauci as Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden.
A different Sydney production played at the Hayes Theatre from 8 January - 1 February 2015. Produced by Doorsteps Arts in association with Hayes Theatre Company, the cast included Natalie O'Donnell (Diana), Anthony Harkin (Dan), Alex Rathgeber (Drs Fine/Madden), Brent Trotter (Gabe), Kiane O'Farrell (Natalie) and Clay Roberts (Henry). The director was Darylin Ramondo and the musical director Alistair Smith.
An acclaimed Perth production played at the Heath Ledger Theatre from November 5th - November 19th 2015. Produced by Black Swan State Theatre Company, the cast included Rachael Beck (Diana), Brendan Hanson (Dan), Michael Cormick (Drs Fine/Madden), James Bell (Gabe), Shannen Alyce (Natalie) and Joel Horwood (Henry). The director was Adam Mitchell and musical direction by David Young. Designed by Bruce McKinven.
A Spanish-language Peruvian premiere of the musical played the Teatro Marsano, in Lima, Peru. The production ran from May to June 2011. The cast included Patricia de al Puente as Diana, Paul Martin and later Jean Paul Strauss as Dan, Renato Bonifaz as Gabe, Gisela Ponce de León as Natalie, Andrés Salas as Henry and Raul Suazo as Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden.
The Argentinian adaptation, titled "Casi Normales", played Buenos Aires from January 3, 2012 to April 5, 2015. It played more than 250 performances between the Liceo Theater, El Nacional Theater, Tabarís Theater and Metropolitan Theater. The musical was recognized by the most prestigious jury in Argentine Musical Theater and won accolades including Best Musical, Best Musical Direction, Best Direction, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Sound Design. The cast included Laura Conforte and Alejandra Perlusky (Diana), Alejandro Paker -2012 and 2013- (Dan), Martín Ruiz -2014 and 2015- (Dan), Matías Mayer (Gabe) and José Luis Bartolilla (Gabe), Florencia Otero and Manuela del Campo (Natalie), Fernando Dente (Henry), Peter Lanzani -2014-(Henry) and Mariano Chiesa and Fernando Dente(Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden).
A Brazilian production opened in July 2012 at the Clara Nunes Theatre in Rio de Janeiro, under the title "Quase Normal", which translates Almost Normal. Producer/director Tadeu Aguiar translated the text and lyrics. The cast includes Vanessa Gerbelli as Diana, Cristiano Gualda as Dan, Olavo Cavalheiro as Gabe, Carol Futuro as Natalie, Victor Maia as Henry and André Dias as Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden. In February 2013, the production transferred to the FAAP Theater in São Paulo.
A Panamanian production, "Casi Normales" played the Teatro En Circulo in Panama City throughout April 2013. The cast featured Paulette Thomas, Arturo Montenegro, Randy Domínguez, Aurelio Tamayo, Meli Moreno and Giovanni Scollo.
The Netherlands (2012)
The Dutch premiere took place on January 16, 2012 at DeLaMar Theater in Amsterdam. The cast included Simone Kleinsma (Diana), Wim van den Driessche (Dan), Freek Bartels (Gabe), Michelle van de Ven (Natalie), Jonathan Demoor (Henry) and René van Kooten (Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden). The last show was played on June 9, 2012 at Schouwburg Almere.
A German-language production opened at the Stadttheater in Fürth, Bavaria on October 11, 2013. The translation was made by director Titus Hoffmann. Highly anticipated auditions took place in Berlin in autumn 2012 and over 1000 actors and actresses applied. Pia Douwes starred in the role of Diana. She was joined by Thomas Borchert as Dan, Dirk Johnston as Gabe, Sabrina Weckerlin as Natalie, Dominik Hees as Henry and Ramin Dustdar as Dr Fine/ Dr Madden. In June 2014 the DEUTSCHE ORIGINALAUFNAHME LIVE (a live cast recording of that German premiere production) was published on CD and on iTunes. Another season is scheduled for 2015.
The Austrian version of the show opened at Landestheater Linz, Austria on January 18, 2014, directed by Matthias Davids using the German translation by Titus Hoffmann. The cast features the musical ensemble of the theatre, with Kristin Hölck as Diana, Reinwald Kranner as Dan, Oliver Liebl as Gabe, Lisa Antoni/Ariana Schirasi-Fard as Natalie, Christian Manuel Oliveira as Henry and Rob Pelzer as. Dr Fine/ Dr. Madden.
New Zealand, Nelson 2014
Off Broadway Performing Arts school presented two seasons of Next to Normal 4–6 July and 8–12 October. The show received rave reviews for the maturity of the cast and incredible talent from teens aged 14 – 19. Post Show discussion followed every show, the topic being: how does this show relate to us? This production created an ensemble of 5 singers and modern to ballet dancers.
The Italian version of the show, produced by STM and directed by Marco Iacomelli, opened on March 7, 2015 at Teatro Coccia in Novara. Original cast was formed by Francesca Taverni (Diana), Antonello Angiolillo (Dan), Luca Giacomelli Ferrarini (Gabe), Laura Adriani (Natalie), Renato Crudo (Henry) and Brian Boccuni (Dr. Fine e Dr. Madden). In 2015/2016 season the show will begin its national tour and a cast recording of the original production will be released in October 2015.
Note: Below are the principal casts of all official major productions of the musical.
|Role||Original Off-Broadway Cast||Original Virginia/Broadway Cast||Closing Broadway Cast||Original US Tour Cast|
|Diana Goodman||Alice Ripley||Marin Mazzie||Alice Ripley|
|Dan Goodman||Brian d'Arcy James||J. Robert Spencer||Jason Danieley||Asa Somers|
|Natalie Goodman||Jennifer Damiano||Meghann Fahy||Emma Hunton|
|Gabriel "Gabe" Goodman||Aaron Tveit||Kyle Dean Massey||Curt Hansen|
|Henry||Adam Chanler-Berat||Preston K. Sadleir|
|Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden||Asa Somers||Louis Hobson||Jeremy Kushnier|
- Notable Broadway Replacements
- Kyle Dean Massey temporarily replaced Tveit from June 9 through September 6, 2009, while he performed in the Seattle try-out of Catch Me if You Can. He remained an unofficial standby due to Tveit's Gossip Girl filming schedule. He later took over the full-time role on January 5, 2010.
- Brian d'Arcy James replaced Spencer on May 18, 2010, for a limited run.
- Married couple Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley replaced Ripley and James, respectively, on July 20, 2010.
- Original Broadway standby Meghann Fahy replaced Damiano on July 20, 2010, after her departure to prepare for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
Literary references and allusions
- During Act I, Gabe reads a paperback copy of The Catcher in the Rye. Kyle Dean Massey said, "I read about a page a night." Salinger's novel about grieving a loss is read by the character who is the loss. In Catcher, Holden struggles with the loss of a brother, Allie, who died of leukemia.
- When sorting through a box of items from her son's room, Diana picks up a music box from the box to reveal a copy of Goodnight Moon underneath.
- Natalie carries a hardcover copy of Flowers for Algernon, which she is studying in school. Both the novel and "Next to Normal" deal with psychological experimentation.
- Diana alludes to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Sylvia Plath, and Frances Farmer in the song "Didn't I See This Movie?".
- Diana also reads from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a play by Edward Albee which deals with marital stress caused by similar issues of "Next to Normal". On her YouTube site, Alice Ripley said that she uses Albee's play as a bible, drawing inspiration for Diana.
Pulitzer Prize Controversy
Next to Normal won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama even though it had not been on the list of three candidates submitted to the twenty-member Pulitzer Prize board by the five-member Drama jury. Jury chairman and critic Charles McNulty publicly criticized the Board for overlooking the three plays not running on Broadway at the time of the Award in favor of one that was.
Awards and nominations
Original Off-Broadway Production
|2008||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Alice Ripley||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music||Tom Kitt||Nominated|
Washington D.C. Production
|2009||Helen Hayes Awards||Outstanding Non-Resident Production||Won|
|Outstanding Lead Actress, Non-Resident Production||Alice Ripley||Won|
|Outstanding Lead Actor, Non-Resident Production||J. Robert Spencer||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Performer, Non-Resident Production||Jennifer Damiano||Nominated|
Original Broadway Production
|2009||Tony Award||Best Musical||Nominated|
|Best Book of a Musical||Brian Yorkey||Nominated|
|Best Original Score||Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey||Won|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||J. Robert Spencer||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical||Alice Ripley||Won|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical||Jennifer Damiano||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Michael Greif||Nominated|
|Best Orchestrations||Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt||Won|
|Best Scenic Design||Mark Wenland||Nominated|
|Best Lighting Design||Kevin Adams||Nominated|
|Best Sound Design||Brian Ronan||Nominated|
|2010||Pulitzer Prize for Drama||Won|
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- Hernandez, Ernio. "New Musical Next to Normal Closes Off-Broadway March 16", playbill.com, March 16, 2008
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- Fullerton, Krissie. "Photo Call:A First Look at the 'Next to Normal' National Tour with Alice Ripley, Emma Hunton and More". playbill.com, 29 Nov 2010
- ", Det Norske Teatret
-  Helsinki City Theatre
-  Philippines Broadway World
- Gloria, Michael. Singapore Premiere of Next to Normal, Starring West End Actress Sally Ann Triplett, Begins Sept. 5 Gloria, Michael. playbill.com, September 9, 2013
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- programme for this production
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- Obra musical de Broadway, "Casi normal" se estrena por primera vez en Lima traducida al español
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- Official Website
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- Next to Normal at the Music Theatre International website
- Twitter Performance Transcript
- Lortel Archives listing
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- German Website
- Argentina Website
- Italian Website