‘Next to Normal’ opening in Long Beach

LONG BEACH – California Repertory Company concludes its 2013-2014 season with the Tony and Pulitzer prize-winning musical “Next to Normal,” running April 18 through May 10 at the Royal Theater aboard the Queen Mary. With music by Tom Kitt, and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, this groundbreaking contemporary musical is “an emotional powerhouse that centers on a family’s ability to cope with crisis and their attempts to preserve their love for one another.”

“Next to Normal” is an unflinching look at the life of Diana Goodman, a wife and mother who struggles with intense emotional anguish and the effects ¬it has on her family.  As Diana’s condition deteriorates, her husband and children are forced to confront the stark reality that perhaps their expectation of a “normal” family life is misguided.

With provocative lyrics and a thrilling rock score, this intense, emotional, and poetic musical aims right for the heart with its story of a family coming to terms with their past and their journey as they seek hope for their future.

Seasoned Cal Rep director Joanne Gordon leads a cast of graduate and undergraduate actors from Cal State Long Beach, featuring current MFA actor Karole Foreman in the lead role of Diana and well known alum Jeff Paul as her husband, Dan.  Gordon brings an experienced hand to the many themes of the show, including the oft-misrepresented problems associated with mental health.

Gordon notes, we survive, “By not accepting norms, but finding a parallel course – a next to normal or an alternative to normal.”

However, for Gordon the depth of “Next to Normal” extends well beyond the issues of mental health and family struggle. “We all can identify with family plays that are based on family pain, but it is the dynamic of love that is so powerful.”

In spite of this family’s struggles, she believes it is their desire to “Need love, give love, give love in the wrong places, and to be broken by love” that truly drives the show. Watching the Goodman family search for answers of how to love, deal with their loss, and find a light in the darkness will make for an evening that will inspire and move audiences of all ages.

Cal Rep performances are in the Royal Theater aboard the Queen Mary. “Next to Normal” runs Tuesday through Saturday, April 18 – May 10 at 8 p.m. There will be a preview performance April 17 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for general admission, $20 for students, military, and seniors (55 and older). Parking at the Queen Mary is $8 for patrons of Cal Rep performances, and $6 for CSULB students and patrons who have dinner aboard the ship.

For tickets and information, call (562) 985-5526 or visit calrep.org.



Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Jennifer DeKay