New Line Theatre, "the bad boy of musical theatre," now in its 22nd season of alternative, adult musical theatre, has announced its cast for the powerhouse Pulitzer Prize winning rock opera NEXT TO NORMAL, running Feb. 28-March 23, 2013 at the Washington University South Campus Theatre.
New Line veteran Kimi Short will play Diana, with Jeffrey M. Wright as Dan, Ryan Foizey as Gabe, newcomers Mary Beth Black as Natalie and Joseph McAnulty as Henry, and New Line's go-to character actor Zachary Allen Farmer as Dr. Madden and Dr. Fine. Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy will direct, with costume design by Amy Kelly, lighting design by Sean Savoie, scenic design by Scott L. Schoonover, and musical direction by Justin Smolik. Short and Wright also recently played across from each other as the leads in New Line's critically acclaimed High Fidelity in June.
New Line's season continues with the first St. Louis production of the powerful, thrilling rock opera NEXT TO NORMAL, with music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, winner of the Tony Award for best score and the Pulitzer Prize for drama. From the composer of High Fidelity comes the most adult, most mature rock musical to hit Broadway in decades, an unrelentingly intense, brutally honest – and often, darkly funny – story about a bipolar woman and the family that grapples with her illness, all set to a hard driving rock and roll score that explodes with raw, searing emotion. Rolling Stone called it “the best new musical of the season – by a mile.”
The New York Times said about it, "No show on Broadway right now makes as direct a grab for the heart -- or wrings it as thoroughly -- as Next to Normal does. This brave, breathtaking musical focuses squarely on the pain that cripples the members of a suburban family, and never for a minute does it let you escape the anguish at the core of their lives." With its ground-breaking rock score, this is an emotional powerhouse of a musical about a family trying to take care of themselves and each other in the midst of one woman's fierce battle with bipolar disorder. It's one of the most emotional musicals in years.
The show began its life in 1998 as a ten-minute workshop sketch called Feeling Electric. Writer Brian Yorkey brought the idea to composer Tom Kitt (High Fidelity, Bring It On) while both were at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. Both Yorkey and Kitt moved on to other projects, but they kept returning to their ten-minute piece, eventually expanding it to full-length. This version went through several workshops as the team kept working on it. In September 2005, an abbreviated version of the full-length piece was part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival, where it attracted some attention. Second Stage Theatre in New York workshopped the piece in 2006 and 2007, with director Michael Greif (Rent, Peter and the Starcatcher, Jane Eyre, Grey Gardens) at the helm. The show opened off Broadway in 2008, now retitled Next to Normal¸ where it ran about a month. Still it won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Score, and it was nominated for two other Outer Critics Circle Awards (including Best New Off Broadway Musical), three Lucille Lortel Awards, two Drama League Awards, and two Drama Desk Awards. The team kept working. Another new version of the show was then given a regional theatre production at the Arena Stage from November 2008 through January 2009. And finally, the show began previews on Broadway in March 2009, running 754 performances. New Line presents the first St. Louis production of the show.
For more information, visit http://www.newlinetheatre.com/n2npage.html