Next to Normal, the unlikely rock musical about a family dealing with bipolar disease, addiction, and electroconvulsive therapy is currently playing a limited engagement at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre. The Tony and Pulitzer prize winning show is one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time–and I see a lot of very good shows.
Although I truly believe that “theater” in Chicago is second to none, this show has Broadway written all over it–in a good way. It’s the kind of big blockbuster musical that used to be second nature to Broadway. That said, the subject matter is daring and deals with contemporary issues.
Winner of Best Actress in a Musical (2009) for her role in Next to Normal, Alice Ripley, from the the original Broadway cast, headlines the 36-week multi-city North American Tour. Ripley gives an all-out dazzling performance as the not so normal mom Diana. The rest of the touring actors, who were not part of the Broadway original, are brilliantly cast with Asa Somers as Dan, Curt Hansen (Gabe), Emma Hunton (Natalie), and Jeremy Kushnier (Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine) and Preston Sadleir (Henry).
Next to Normal features music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, musical staging by Sergio Trujillo, and direction by Michael Greif. The creative team also includes Mark Wendland (set design), Jeff Mahshie (costume design), Kevin Adams (lighting design), and Brian Ronan (sound design). Musical direction is by Bryan Perri, orchestrations are by Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt with vocal arrangements by Ann Marie Milazzo.
Individual tickets are $32 to $95. They can be purchased at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices, online at BroadwayinChicago.com or by phone at 800 775 2000. Bank of America Theatre is located at 18 W. Monroe.
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