The Washington Post reports that Ripley will join the previously announced J. Robert Spencer in Arena's Michael Greif-directed production of Next to Normal, about a family affected by a mother's mental illness and grief. Spencer will play the dad, Dan, the role created Off-Broadway by Shrek's Brian d'Arcy James. No other casting has been announced.
Next to Normal will play Nov. 21, 2008-Jan. 18, 2009 at Arena's temporary home in Crystal City, VA.
Arena describes Next to Normal as such: "How does an almost average family navigate today's over-stimulated and over-medicated world? In this darkly funny and haunting new musical, one suburban household confronts its past and its future. With provocative lyrics and an electrifying score, Next to Normal explores how far two parents will go to keep themselves sane and their world intact."
Alice Ripley, who starred in the Paper Mill Playhouse's production of The Baker's Wife, has appeared on Broadway in Side Show (Tony nomination), The Rocky Horror Show, James Joyce's The Dead, Sunset Boulevard, The Who's Tommy, Les Misérables and in the City Center Encores! production of Li'l Abner. She has also been seen in Next to Normal (Drama Desk nomination), Tell Me On a Sunday, Company, Shakespeare in Hollywood, The Fabulous Invalid and Five Flights. Ripley's non-show recordings include two discs with Side Show co-star Emily Skinner — "Duets" and "Unsuspecting Hearts" — and a recording of her own compositions, "Everything's Fine." The singing actress also heads her own rock band, RIPLEY; the group has just released a CD titled "Outtasite," now available on iTunes, CDBaby and Pandora.com. For more information about the Arena season, visit arenastage.org.