Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Big News on the Old Rialto! The New Musical Next to Normal is Set to Play Broadway's Longacre Theatre!

Big Broadway news from Applause Theatre Service! Next to Normal, the acclaimed new musical seen Off-Broadway at Second Stage and more recently at Arlington's Arena Stage, will arrive on Broadway March 27 at the Longacre Theatre. Opening Night is set for April 15th. Just in time for the Tony's!

I heard some really great things about this show from both the critics who loved it and friends of mine who also loved it. I was so sorry that I missed it Off-Broadway(it played right next door to my office!) and now I have the chance to see it. My co-workers feel that this will probably knock Shrek out of the running for the Best Musical Tony this year. I hope not because I happen to like Shrek quite a bit. And I absolutely love Alice Ripley(pictured right) who I first saw in Sideshow and then in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Ben Brantley of the New York Times describes the show as "New York's first mainstream musical about manic depression." I didn't read the rest of his review, so I can approach the show with an open mind, but I am intrigued at what appears to be offbeat subject matter. As I've often said, there's no such thing as a bad idea for a musical, only poor execution.
Michael Grief, who directed both the Off-Broadway and Arena Stage productions, will direct on Broadway as well. The Broadway production will also boast the entire Arena Stage cast: Alice Ripley, J. Robert Spencer, Aaron Tveit, Jennifer Damiano, Adam Chanler-Berat and Louis Hobson. (Ripley, Tveit, Damiano and Chanler-Berat were also in the Second Stage Theatre production.)

Producer David Stone added in a statement, "Anyone who has been involved with the creation of an original musical knows that much of the work happens in the rewriting. From the day after Next to Normal opened off-Broadway through opening night at Arena Stage, Tom Kitt, Brian Yorkey, and Michael Greif were committed to improving and rewriting this show with a level of dedication and focus I have seldom seen from a creative team. The path to Broadway for Next to Normal has been highly unconventional and, in retrospect, the best thing that could have happened to this musical."
Next to Normal, according to press notes, is "a contemporary musical that explores how one suburban household copes with crisis. . . . [The musical] shows how far two parents will go to keep themselves sane and their family's world intact."
Show times will be Tuesday-Saturday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM and Sunday at 3 and 7:30 PM.
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