Kristine Fraelich, James Barry, Robert Hager to Star in Philly Next to Normal, With Video Enhancement
By Kenneth Jones
Arden Theatre Company's resident Philadelphia production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal will feature a unique video design that will "take us into the minds of the characters, illuminating their feelings and journeys in a visually arresting way," according to director Terrence J. Nolen, who will collaborate with scenic and video designer Jorge Cousineau.
Performances of the dark rock musical about a family shaken by the mental illness of its matriarch will play Arden's F. Otto Haas Stage Sept. 27-Nov. 4. Next to Normal has book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt. In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, they took home the 2009 Tony for Best Score. Kitt and Michael Starobin won the Tony for Orchestrations. Alice Ripley, playing frazzled, broken Diana Goodman, won the Tony as Best Actress in a Musical.
The Arden cast includes Kristine Fraelich (Sunday in the Park with George and Baby Case at the Arden, The Civil War on Broadway) as Diana, Brian Hissong (Sunday in the Park with George; Winesburg, OH), Barrymore Award winner Michael Doherty as Henry, Barrymore Award winner Rachel Camp as daughter Natalie, James Barry (Broadway's Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) as father Dan Goodman and Robert Hager (Broadway's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Bye Bye Birdie and Spring Awakening) as son Gabe Goodman.
This new take on the material is conceived by Arden artistic director Nolen and designer Cousineau, the duo behind the Arden's uniquely visual Sunday in the Park with George in 2010.
The Next to Normal creative team includes choreographer Niki Cousineau, costume designer Alison Roberts, Barrymore Award-winning lighting designer Thom Weaver, sound designer Daniel Perelstein and music director Eric Ebbenga, leading an onstage band of five musicians.
Opening night is 7 PM Oct. 3. For tickets, call the Arden Box Office at (215) 922-1122, order online at ardentheatre.org, or visit the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.
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