A three-time Tony Award and 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical from the director of “RENT” will come to campus this weekend.
No Refund Theatre will present the show, “Next to Normal,” for three shows starting at 8 tonight in 111 Forum.
The musical encompasses a lot of different elements from suburbia, issues with mental illness, psychology and grief, director Steve Travis said .
“It’s a pretty unique show,” Travis (graduate-meteorology) said.
The musical is composed of almost all singing, he said. There are very few lines involved, Travis said.
“It’s basically a rock opera. There’s a great score,” he said.
“Next to Normal” revolved around a family that loses a son, and the mother, Diana, cannot handle the emotional stress.
Diana goes into a bipolar tailspin which affects the entire family, he said.
“[The mental illness] kind of traps her and her family,” Travis said.
Randi Kaplan, who said she plays the lead role of Diana, said the show is about psychology as the main character tries to control her grief and manic-depressive behavior.
Kaplan (junior-elementary education) said Diana has trouble handling all of the stress and cannot remember that her son has died.
“She believes he still exists,” Kaplan said. “Her mind tells her he’s still alive.”
Kaplan said she’s really enjoyed getting to play the role of Diana because it’s such a different role for her to take.
“[I love] portraying a character that’s so unlike myself,” she said.
Travis says the show applies to all types of audiences because of its complex nature. He said it is relevant to fans of traditional Broadway shows but also to those who enjoy rock music.
“It kind of stands multiple genres,” he said. “The music kind of draws you in. It’s a very human story… it’s easy to relate to.”
Kaplan said the cast of the show has bonded a lot because it’s such a small group as it is made up of six actors and actresses. She also said the show is very relateable.
Travis also said “Next to Normal” is a performance that has topics that can resonate with everyone. He said audience members can watch the show and see their family or a neighbor’s family in the storyline.
“Everyone can find something about the show they can [connect with,]” Travis said.
Devon Herrick, who said she plays the daughter in the show, said she’s very excited to be involved in the production.
“I wanted to do something that I was going to enjoy and that would bring some great musical theater into the community,” Herrick (graduate student-higher education and administration) said.
“Next to Normal” is being performed tonight and tomorrow night as well as 2 p.m. tomorrow in 111 Forum. The performance is free and open to the public.