Next To Normal (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

A powerful piece on the Denver stage.

Next To Normal

I saw "Next To Normal" over the weekend at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.  There has been a lot of buzz about this show for the last year or so, it won a lot of awards. I really wanted to check it out and I'm glad I did.  It's powerful and poignant, well-conceived and well acted.

It's the story of a woman's long struggle with depression and mental illness and medication, lots of medication.  The point is what it does to her family, and eventualy the reveal is how it all started. The music works well in the context of the show and the performers are great.  The cast features several of the actors from the Broadway production, including Alice Ripley in the lead role.

She had throat problems the night I was there and she really struggled, but it was still apparent that she's a tremendous performer. She probably should have taken the night off though.

The show is emotional and pretty sad almost right away, and it stays that way until the end.  That's OK, you see live theatre to be moved and this show does that. There are a couple of unexpected moments that work very it was nice not know the whole story ahead of time. I won't give it away here.

The subject matter mandates that the whole show is pretty heavy.  To me it almost felt like too much at times. Here's a link for tickets through the 16th.

See "Next To Normal",  it is an experience. I'm just not sure I need to experience it again.

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward

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