Mesa Encore Theatre's fourth show of its 76th season is the acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize-winning musical NEXT TO NORMAL, presented at the Mesa Arts Center, January 25 - February 3, 2013. Go backstage with the cast and creative team in the video below!
NEXT TO NORMAL tells the story of a mother, Diana Goodman, who struggles with bipolar disorder and the effect that her illness has on her family. This contemporary musical is an emotional powerhouse that addresses such issues as grieving a loss, ethics in modern psychiatry, and suburban life. With provocative lyrics and a thrilling score, this musical shows how far two parents will go to keep themselves sane and their family's world intact.
NEXT TO NORMAL was nominated for eleven 2009 Tony Awards and won three, Best Original Score, Best Orchestration and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for Alice Ripley. It won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, becoming just the eighth musical in history to receive the honor. In awarding the prize to Tom Kitt (Music) and Brian Yorkey (Book and Lyrics), the Pulitzer Board called the show "a powerful rock musical that grapples with mental illness in a suburban family and expands the scope of subject matter for musicals." The Broadway production closed on January 16, 2011 after 21 previews and 733 regular performances.
Arizona native Phillip Fazio returns from New York City where he permanently resides to direct the production. Mr. Fazio previously directed Mesa Encore Theatre's critically acclaimed productions of Ragtime, The Last Five Years, Rent, Cabaret, Proof, and West Side Story. His NYC credits include Gay Camp (FringeNYC and Fringe Encore), The Real Life (Identity Theatre Company), and Super Ben! (Think Theater). Andrew Kust provides music direction and leads the live band of six musicians.
The production stars Melissa Modifer as Diana and Kyle Bennett as Dan. Also featured in the cast are Evan Tyler Wilson (Gabe), Katie Frederick (Natalie), Rudy Ramirez (Henry), and Tom Peterson (Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden). Unique to this production is the addition of a small ensemble of Doctors, Nurses, and Voices played by Heather Fallon, Andy Albrecht, and Taylor DiTola
All performances will be held at the Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street, Mesa. More information on Mesa Encore Theatre can be found at their website, www.mesaencoretheatre.com.