NYC – The 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning musical with powerful Music by Tom Kitt, heartfelt Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey is sharing a manic must see performance by Musically Human Theatre Productions. “The Next to Normal off-off Broadway revival is the hottest ticket in New York City. No need to pay for a full price Broadway ticket to see one of the most thought provoking musicals of all times. A Theatre Chat top pick!”
The off-off-Broadway revival of Next to Normal starring African American actress Nicole Powell (Broadway – Ragtime) is a Broadway Global and Theatre Chat must see, the hottest ticket in NYC! Next to Normal is Directed by David Norwood. Norwood is a Theatre Chat top pick director to watch in the up coming years because of his staging, creative use of the stage in this intimate venue, exquisite direction that is superb, brave and brings this emotionally brilliant piece of theatre to life. Please note Aaron Pratt is listed as Directing Consultant. Mr. Pratt is a branding consultant, primarily involved with new works (The Pursuit of Mr. Rockefeller, Disenchanted, a new musical).
Next to Normal is also a Broadway Global top pick because of the storyline and in this production the choice of non traditional casting with African American Broadway star Nicole Powell, read the quadrust.com article.
After seeing Next to Normal with Alice Ripley (2009 Tony Award, Best Actress in a Musical) ones expectations are more than high. When African American Broadway actress Nicole Powell hits the stage there is no turning back. Nothing is black and white. The choice of a black actress in the starring role is important to show that illness is not an ethnic choice. Nicole embraces every element of her bi-polar, manic depressive character. Powell sings one of the most psychotic vocally demanding musicals of all times with ease. Stabilizing her performance from stereotypes of a bi-polar mother Nicole Powell gives audiences explosive incite with her stellar performance, sharing an illness that brings social awareness to our Next to Normal diagnosed generation.
Next to Normal is a Broadway Global top musical of all time. The story of bi-polar, manic depressive mother is not uncommon around the world although the open discussions of such a subject are very uncommon. The use of a rock musical to tell the journey of this Next to Normal family is more than ingenious. It gives audiences a much needed look into the drug prescribed lives of our nation and the global world, opening conversations for all who see this riveting performance. A medicated pill taking society has become normal for every age from kids in kindergarten to the bursting numbers of retirees. Next to Normal gives a fascinating look inside the lives of a suburban family coping with the stresses of everyday life.
Eric Michael Krop (Broadway- Godspell) as Gabe gives a haunting performance from a son that is the subconsciously driven plot. Krop’s vocals are strong, effective and powerful. Eric Michale Krop gives one of the best performances seen in the role of Gabe to date. Maybe even more powerful is Elena Ricardo (National tour- Mamma Mia!) as the daughter Natalie. Elena’s performance is youthful, endearing and memorable. Ricardo’s vocals give the audience goose bumps and when vocal harmonies from fellow cast members mix this musical rocks. Sam Heldt as Natalies’ pot head boy friend is another joy in Next to Normal.
Does a Next to Normal character of a bi-polar mother, Nicole Powell get your attention? Let’s stress again the star of the story and journey has to be driven from the mothers role, as well as her performance. Nicole Powell’s performance alone in Next to Normal is reason to purchase a ticket to the 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning story that has changed musical theatre history.
Christopher Ryan (National tour– Young Frankenstein) as Dan wins the audience over as the loving husband who will do anything to cure his wife. Ryan captures his own denial, feeling the presence from his dead son, which many productions seem to miss. Christopher Ryan hits all the notes, that by the way are at times in falsetto land.
Some of the best written characters in the musical are that of Doctor Madden/Doctor Fine played by Craig Foster. Foster has a unique vocal quality that works in these characters. The outstanding live band include Conductor/Piano by Jeremy Robin Lyons, Guitar by Sky Seals, Bass by Christopher Bastian, Drums/Percussion Jessie Nelson, Violin Renia Shukis and Cello Stephen Pfeiffer. Musically Human Theatre production team should be commended for using a live band as well as extra string instruments that give the musical score the full sound of an orchestra.
The Next to Normal Lighting Design by Michael O’Connor enhances the storyline as the small venue does not allow a huge set of a two story structured house. The Sound Design by Jacob Subotnick has it’s obstacles in this small venue, for a rock musical, with live band so close to the audience but works well under the conditions. Scenic Design by Joseph Croghan are minimal and appropriate. A huge frame used as the common thread honors many homes around the world, hanging on their walls a Next to Normal picture perfect family.
The brilliant Next to Normal cast are all Equity performers: Nicole Powell (Ragtime, Hairspray) as Diana, Christopher Ryan (National tour– Young Frankenstein) as Dan, Eric Michael Krop (Broadway- Godspell) as Gabe, Elena Ricardo (National tour- Mamma Mia!) as Natalie, Sam Heldt (Junie B. Jones) as Henry, and Craig Foster as Doctor Fine/Madden.
Next to Normal only plays a limited run from October 25, 2012 through November 11, 2012. Tickets are on sale now by calling 212-352-3101, or visit www.musicallyhuman.org. The Next to Normal rock musical is enhanced by a live six piece band that brings this powerhouse musical to life. www.musicallyhuman.org also offers a two show membership at $30.00 boasting the best seats at the best prices (and they should!). The intimate theatre is all orchestra seating, with no bad seats. Take note older patrons chose seats further back, so keep in mind it is a rock musical. Next to Normal is produced by Musically Human Theatre Productions and presented at CAP 21 Black Box located at 18 W 18th St # 6 New York, NY 10011. For tickets visit www.musicallyhuman.org.
“Musically Human Theatre Productions presents engaging, socially relevant works of musical theatre that illuminates the shared human experience of our diverse community.” David Norwood and Aaron Pratt, Co-Artistic Directors. Matthew Wright, Interim Managing Director. Musically Human Theatre Productions (MHTP) is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.
The Original Broadway Production of Next to Normal was produced by David Stone, James L Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo and Second Stage Theatre.
The New York Premiere was produced by Second Stage Theatre February 2008 in New York. Artistic Director Carole Rothman, Executive Director Ellen Richard. Next to Normal was subsequently produced by Arena Stage in November 2008.
Developed at Village Theatre in Issaquah, WA. Artistic Director Steve Tomkins and Executive Producer Robb Hunt. An earlier version was presented in 2005 at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Support for the development of Next to Normal was produced by Jonathan Larson Foundation.
Next to Normal is presented through special arrangement with Musical Theatre International (MTI) located at 421 West 54th Street, New York, New York 10019. www.MTIShows.com.
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