Next to Normal – Musical – Twelfth Night Productions

Watched my 1st/2nd-most favorite musical Next to Normal with Paul. Aside from from the pitch issues (I mean ... it was early in the day), I was impressed. Powerful musical with a realistic (aka sad) commentary/ending on mental health. Is there hope?
Watched my 1st/2nd-most favorite musical Next to Normal with Paul. Aside from from the pitch issues (I mean … it was early in the day), I was impressed. Powerful musical with a realistic (aka sad) commentary/ending on mental health. Is there hope?

Type: Musical

Recommendation: See it! It’s my favorite (or 2nd favorite) musical. Seen it 3 times already … and none of them were professionally produced!

Rating (Out of 5 Stars): 4.5 stars

Negatives: Sometimes actors’ vocal pitch was flat. I suspect this was because I attended an afternoon matinee. It probably would have sounded better during an evening performance when their vocal cords were more warmed up. That being said, any tonal variation would probably have been unnoticeable to the untrained ear.

Story, Script, and Lyrics: Suburban mom with bipolar depression and schizophrenic features. One of the few musicals to win a Pulitzer (which is usually for books and not for stage performances), this piece is so well written and relevant for an over-medicated society (this coming from a pharmacist). It’s a great commentary on the practice of psychiatry. One of the treatments (won’t spoil it) was a bit over the top though. I absolutely love how in the middle of the first act (again, won’t spoil it) the audience caught completely off guard. I felt so betrayed! Such good writing. Unlike most musicals I like to watch, the ending was more realistic (aka sad) than your typical happily-ever-after. Basically, there’s no easy answer to mental illness.

Cast and Theater Company: Well-chosen cast. Hilary Heinz Luthi had a great raw voice for this rock musical. David Naber added a nice ballet-like sinister aspect to the Gabe character. It didn’t hurt that he was great eye candy as well haha. I’ve seen 3 performances from Twelfth Night Productions. Two have been good and was one was mediocre. I’m curious to see what the next one will be like.

Venue and Set: Venue in an old elementary school converted to youth arts center. The performance was actually in the gym. Despite the simple set, the cast worked well with what little they had and it let the writing/acting shine more. My friend said that he preferred this intimate simple production over the national professional tour he saw on the big stage at a major venue. He said it’s easier to experience the raw emotion. Interesting stage effects during the climax (i won’t spoil it!) of the first act.

Music and Audio: What can I say, I love rock/pop musicals. The band was good and the conductor/pianist (Greg Smith) was particularly enthusiastic and expressive.

Price: $ (Low-priced at $20)

Dates: February 16-18 & 23-25, 2018

Seating: General Admission

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