Tom Kitt (music) and Brian Yorkey (book/lyrics) penned the emotional work that puts a woman's lifelong struggle with bi-polar disorder and depression center stage. The two earned the 2009 Tony Award for Best Score and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Next to Normal arrived on Broadway in March 27, 2009, and officially opened April 15, 2009, at the Booth Theatre following an Off-Broadway run at Second Stage and a regional engagement at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. When it closes, Next to Normal will have played 21 previews and 733 performances.
"Everything about Next to Normal – from its subject matter to its unprecedented route to Broadway – has been unexpected and atypical. If someone had told me over five years ago, when I started working with Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, that this musical would have the life and success it has, I wouldn’t have believed them," producer David Stone said in a statement. "We are extremely proud of Next to Normal’s Broadway run and we look forward to the show being seen across the country, moving audiences the way it has every night since it opened on Broadway."
Actress Alice Ripley earned critical acclaim and a Tony Award for her portrayal of a mother struggling with mental illness. She will repeat her work in the national tour, which launches Nov. 23 in Los Angeles. Next to Normal 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.
Kitt and Yorkey reflected on their work in an interview with Playbill.com following their Pulitzer Prize win. "Without Rent and Stephen Sondheim, there is no Next to Normal," Kitt said. "I think that we've always been moved and inspired to write material that maybe says something a little different through musical theatre. I think at the very beginning, when we set out to write this, we just wanted to write something that mattered to us, something that felt maybe that it hadn't been explored in musical theatre before. But never could we have imagined in our wildest dreams that we'd be here."
"I think we wanted to take chances," Yorkey added. "We wanted to write something that wasn't safe and didn't seem on the face of it like a commercial hit. And, we learned along the way that that made its road very complicated."
Next to Normal has set design by Mark Wendland, costume design by Jeff Mahshie, lighting design by Kevin Adams and sound design by Brian Ronan. The creative team also includes Sergiio Trujillo (musical staging), Charlie Alterman (musical direction), Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt (orchestrations) and AnnMarie Milazzo (vocal arrangements).