Clinton Family Attends Next to Normal on Broadway; Composer Kitt Comments
By Adam Hetrick
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and their daughter Chelsea attended the April 3 matinee of the Tony-winning rock musical Next to Normal.
Representatives for the production confirmed that the Clinton family, including Chelsea's fiancée Mark Mezvinsky, caught the 2 PM performance of the Tom Kitt-Brian Yorkey rock musical about a family in crisis. The Clintons gave Next to Normal a standing ovation, but did not meet with the cast following the performance.
Several Next to Normal fans in attendance Twittered the news, and word spread on the Facebook page for the musical.
Tony-winning composer Tom Kitt, who was also in attendance, spoke with Playbill.com about the Clintons' visit. "It was very cool. It's kind of beyond words. Especially because I am a huge supporter of that entire family, certainly President Clinton and Secretary of State Clinton, so to have them come and see something that I've done was the ultimate for me," he said.
"I did get to meet Bill Clinton and shook his hand," Kitt added. "He shook my hand heartily and expressed his joy for the show and the work."
The cast was informed of the special guests prior to the performance. Kitt said, "You could see it was a very special performance; they knew they were out there. Everyone was certainly excited about it."
Broadway has received a host of high-profile visitors lately. First Lady Michelle Obama, mother Marian Robinson and young daughters Malia and Sasha attended productions of Memphis and The Addams Family in recent weeks. Last spring the President and First Lady attended Joe Turner's Come and Gone.
Michel Greif directed Next to Normal, which stars 2009 Tony Award winner Alice Ripley (Side Show, Sunset Boulevard), J. Robert Spencer (Jersey Boys) and Jennifer Damiano (Spring Awakening) as well as Kyle Dean Massey, Adam Chanler-Berat and Louis Hobson.
Next to Normal, which was penned by Tony winners Kitt (music) and Yorkey (book and lyrics), is "a contemporary musical that explores how one suburban household copes with crisis. . . . [The musical] shows how far two parents will go to keep themselves sane and their family's world intact," according to production notes.
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 musical earned Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestrations, as well as Best Actress for Alice Ripley.
Next to Normal currently plays the Booth Theatre. Visit NexttoNormal.
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