A family struggles with mental illness in the musical
“Next to Normal,” staged by the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University
of Wisconsin-Stevens Point April 4-6 and 9-12.
The winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize and three 2009
Tony Awards, “Next to Normal” uses a rock score and intricate harmonies to
reflect the struggles of a mother with bipolar disorder and a family trying to
maintain its ties.
It will be performed in the Studio Theatre in the Noel
Fine Arts Center, 1800 Portage St., at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April
4-5, and Wednesday through Saturday, April 9-12. A 2 p.m. matinee will be
performed Sunday, April 6.
Admission is $19 for adults, $18 for senior citizens and
$14 for students. Tickets are available at the Information and Tickets Office
in the Dreyfus University Center, http://tickets.uwsp.edu,
or by calling 715-346-4100 or 800-838-3378.
While mental illness is an unconventional issue for a
musical, the show is smartly written with a score than connects the audience to
its characters, said director Tyler Marchant, an associate professor in the
Department of Theatre and Dance.
“The writers of ‘Next to Normal’ were interested in
challenging what musical theater can be,” he said. Almost entirely sung, the
show uses contemporary music styles to relate emotional issues, he added. This
has made it a demanding show both physically and emotionally for the six
student cast members, who researched mental health issues to prepare for the
show and worked closely with musical director, Assistant Professor Alan Patrick
A beautiful but minimal set helps create an intimate story
and a window into the family’s challenges, Marchant said.
“It’s about people trying to survive, believing they can
get healthy and that their family can be there for them. They are not striving
to be perfect, but they hope for ‘Next to Normal.’”