Atlanta’s nationally acclaimed Alliance Theatre will stage the multi-award-winning Broadway musical Next to Normal – the production’s first run for Atlanta audiences.   The gripping story of a suburban family coping with the affects of mental illness, Next to Normal was described by the New York Times as “brave and breathtaking – a show that grabs for the heart.”  The Alliance Theatre’s production of Next to Normal is sponsored by Emory Healthcare and Emory’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

With a pop/rock musical score including more than 30 original songs, Next to Normal was nominated for eleven Tony Awards, winning three for Best Original Score (Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey), Best Orchestration (Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt), and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Alice Ripley).  It also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, making it only the eighth musical to receive the honor.  The awarding Pulitzer Board called Next to Normal “a powerful rock musical that grapples with mental illness…and expands the scope of subject matter for musicals.”

“As a producer of innovative American musicals, it was important for The Alliance to stage Next to Normal, one of the rare musicals to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Drama,” said Artistic Director Susan V. Booth.  Booth last worked with composer Tom Kitt in January 2011, when the Alliance Theatre gave the world premiere of Bring It On: The Musical, which opened on Broadway August 1, 2012.

The Alliance Theatre’s production of Next to Normal will be directed by Scott Schwartz (Broadway – Golda’s Balcony, Jane Eyre).  Schwartz has a long history of directing new musicals including the Off-Broadway hits tick, tick…BOOM! and Bat Boy: The Musical; as well as the recent world premiere of the new musical A Room With A View at The Old Globe.  On directing Next to Normal, Schwartz said, “Next to Normal has the thrilling pop-rock score that you expect from a contemporary musical, but it also has the depth and complexity of a play.  At its core, it’s a powerful family drama, and I’m most excited to explore that.”

The Next to Normal cast includes a mix of New York and Atlanta based actors.  Catherine Porter will play Diana, a suburban mom struggling with depression and bipolar disorder.  Porter has been the stand-in for the role of Diana in the Broadway production of Next to Normal since 2010.  She has also played leading roles in West End productions of Sunset Boulevard and Only the Lonely.  Bob Gaynor (Broadway – Leap of Faith, Catch Me If You Can, Aida) will play Diana’s husband Dan.  Cary Tedder (Broadway – Memphis, The Times They Are A-Changin’) will play Diana and Dan’s son Gabe.  The Atlanta cast members include Lyndsay Ricketson making her Alliance Theatre debut playing Diana and Dan’s daughter Natalie, and Jordan Craig playing Natalie’s boyfriend Henry.  Craig last appeared at the Alliance Theatre as the Tin Man in the 2011/12 production of The Wizard of OzGoogie Uterhardt will play Diana’s doctor, Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine.

Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 2:30 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm, October 5-28, 2012 on the Hertz Stage.

 Tickets start at $25 and are available at The Woodruff Arts Center Box Office in person or by calling 404-733-5000.  Tickets are also available online at alliancetheatre.org/normal.  Discount rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling 404.733.4690.  Discount rates are also available for members of the military, seniors and students.  The Alliance Theatre is located at The Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street, at the corner of Peachtree and 15th Street, in Midtown Atlanta.

Engagement Opportunities:

The Alliance Theatre is committed to extending dialogue from the stage to the community.  Before Play (pre-show) and After Words (post show) events offer audience members the chance to engage in conversation about the issues and ideas presented in the play. Faculty members from Next to Normal sponsor Emory Healthcare and Emory’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences will be on hand at each discussion to facilitate the conversations and answer questions on mental illness and depression.  Before Play and After Words are free to ticket holders.

Before Play Opportunities –

  • Tuesday, October 23 – 6:30p
  • Tuesday, October 30 – 6:30p
  • Tuesday, November 6 – 6:30p

After Words Opportunities (immediately following the performance) –

  • Friday, October 19 – Evening Performance
  • Saturday, October 20 – Matinee Performance
  • Sunday, October 21 – Matinee Performance
  • Friday, October 26 – Evening Performance
  • Saturday, October 27 – Matinee Performance
  • Sunday, October 28 – Matinee Performance
  • Friday, November 2 – Evening Performance
  • Saturday, November 3 – Matinee Performance
  • Sunday, November 4 – Matinee Performance
  • Friday, October 9 – Evening Performance
  • Saturday, October 10 – Matinee Performance
  • Sunday, October 11 – Matinee Performance

 Special Events:

PLAY AFTER WORK – Next to Normal

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happy Hour at MODA at 6 p.m.

Next to Normal on the Alliance Stage at 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy two great experiences on the same night!  See a great exhibition at MoDA while enjoying light snacks and beverages before you head over to the Alliance Theatre for the 7:30p performance of Next to Normal – winner of three Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Tickets are $25 and include admission to MODA and a ticket to Next to Normal at the Alliance Theatre. Bites and bevs at MODA are provided. To purchase tickets call the box office at 404-733-5000 or visit alliancetheatre.org/normal and use promo code PAW25.

Calendar Listing Synopsis:

Next to Normal (musical)

October 17 – November 11, 2012

Alliance Stage

One of the most powerful stage experiences of recent years, this Tony Award® and Pulitzer Prize winning musical mines the humor and pathos of a suburban family grappling with mental illness.  Mom, Diana, wakes up and starts making sandwiches one morning for her husband, her 16 year-old daughter and soon-to-be 18 year-old son…a lot of sandwiches….a kitchen full of sandwiches.  As Diana embarks on yet another round of treatment, family secrets emerge that force audiences to question the very idea of normal.  This brilliant theatrical experience will leave you on edge of your seat.  Book & Lyrics by Brian Yorkey; Music by Tom Kitt; Directed by Scott Schwartz

For tickets, visit alliancetheatre.org/normal or call the box office, 404.733.5000

Deals:

Student Tickets

College students can purchase $10 tickets for all shows on the day of the performance by showing their student ID at the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office.

Next to Normal is part of the Coca-Cola Series on the Alliance Stage.

Additional Sponsors:  Next to Normal is sponsored by Delta Air Lines – Official Airline of the Alliance Theatre; and The Home Depot – Set Construction Sponsor of the Alliance Theatre.

This production of Next to Normal is made possible by the generous support of Emory Healthcare and Emory’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

This production of Next to Normal is also made possible with grants from the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, the Fulton County Arts Council, the Georgia Council for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.