When Bart asked Reiner ("A Few Good Men," "The Princess Bride," "This Is Spinal Tap") what his goals were for future projects, the filmmaker replied: "The picture that I would love to make, that I'm dying to make...I've been lobbying for this since it went on Broadway. There's a play on Broadway, just recently won a Pulitzer Prize and won a couple of Tonys, called Next to Normal."
Reiner explained his passion for the musical that tells the story of an American family in crisis and a mother coping with depression and bipolar disorder. "It is a completely and utterly unique project and I've been dying to make a musical. It's done brilliantly and it's very uplifting," he said.
It's an ideal time for Hollywood executives to check out Next to Normal: The national touring production of the show is currently playing the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles through Jan. 2, 2011. Tony Award-winning actress Alice Ripley, who originated the role of grief-stricken family matriarch Diana Goodman, stars in the 36-week, multi-city North American tour.
Tom Kitt (music) and Brian Yorkey (book/lyrics) penned Next to Normal. The writers earned the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2009 Tony Award for Best Score. Next to Normal also earned the Tony Award for Best Orchestrations (Kitt/Michael Starobin) and received Tony nominations for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Featured Actress (Jennifer Damiano), Best Actor (J. Robert Spencer), Best Direction (Michael Greif), Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design.
Next to Normal arrived on Broadway in March 2009 following an Off-Broadway run at Second Stage and a regional engagement at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC. The production will end its Broadway run Jan. 16, 2011, after 21 previews and 733 performances.