Actress Alice Ripley originated the role of grief-stricken family matriarch Diana Goodman Off-Broadway in 2008 and subsequently earned a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway transfer of Next to Normal. She repeated her work on the 36-week, multi-city North American tour, which launched Nov. 23, 2010, in Los Angeles.
Tony-winning director Michael Greif (Rent, Grey Gardens), who staged the emotionally charged musical Off-Broadway and on Broadway, repeated his work for the tour, which also features Asa Somers (Grey Gardens, Taboo) as Dan, Emma Hunton (Spring Awakening) as Natalie, Curt Hansen (Hairspray) as Gabe, Preston K. Sadleir (Me, Myself & I) as Henry and Jeremy Kushnier (Footloose, Rent) as Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine.
Written by Tom Kitt (music) and Brian Yorkey (book/lyrics), the acclaimed rock musical centers around a mother battling depression and bi-polar disorder, and delves into prescription drug abuse, suicide, grief and the breakdown of an American family.
Though the tour concludes, Next to Normal will live on in a robust regional and international life. Several theatres across the U.S. have already staged the production, and international productions are currently underway across the globe.
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. The national tour of Next to Normal includes the work of the original Broadway creative team, including set designer Mark Wendland, costume designer Jeff Mahshie, lighting designer Kevin Adams and sound designer Brian Ronan.
The creative team also includes Sergiio Trujillo (musical staging), Bryan Perri (musical direction), Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt (orchestrations) and AnnMarie Milazzo (vocal arrangements). Charlie Alterman serves as musical supervisor.
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, D.C. The production closed on Broadway Jan. 16, 2011, after 21 previews and 733 performances.