The Next Chapter Actors will present the hard-hitting musical “Next to Normal” at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 8-10 in Kimberly-Clark Theater of Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Info: foxcitiespac.com.
“Next to Normal” is described as a rock musical, though its book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt contain operatic elements.
The musical ran briefly on Broadway in 2009 and won three Tony Awards, notably one for Best Original Score. “Next to Normal” won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The story centers on a mother who struggles with worsening bipolar disorder and the effects that managing her illness has on her family, the Goodmans.
The Goodmans appear to be a typical suburban family. However, the mother, Diana, is at the center of such topics as drug abuse, depression, suicide, grief and ethics in modern psychiatry. The battles that Diana faces every day affect each of her family members.
This is from my review of a previous area production: “The mother is crazy, the father is loyal and continually standing behind his wife on their cliff of desperation, the daughter is ripped by the tearing situations around her and the son no longer exists but is present and gripping in the mind of the mother. Fused in music and song, this is a powerful contemporary opera.”
The material is recommended for ages 13 and older.
The Next Chapter Actors is a local theater group for players age 16 to 24.
The director is Kyle Weidman. The company presented “Dogfight” in 2018.