NEXT TO NORMAL
Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey
Music by Tom Kitt
Directed by M. Bevin O'Gara
Music Direction by Jonathan Goldberg
Dad’s an architect; Mom rushes to pack lunches and pour cereal; their daughter and son are bright, wise-cracking teens, appearing to be a typical American family. And yet their lives are anything but normal because the mother has been battling manic depression for 16 years. Next to Normal takes audiences into the minds and hearts of each character, presenting their family’s story with love, sympathy, and heart.
Content advisory: This play includes depictions of mental health, medical care and treatment, intense loss, a suicide attempt, and drug use.
JANUARY 27–30, 2022
All performances open to the public
A note on COVID safety: Please know that as an audience member for any of our performances, you will be required to wear a mask and present your vaccination card before entering the performance space. Additional safety requirements may be added at any time at the discretion of Emerson College, the City of Boston, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Any prospective ticket buyer with concerns about health safety protocols is encouraged to call our Box Office at 617-824-8400.
Original Broadway Production Produced by David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo and Second Stage Theatre.
New York Premiere Produced by Second Stage Theatre, New York. February 2008
Carole Rothman, Artistic Director; Ellen Richard, Executive Director
Next To Normal was subsequently produced by Arena Stage in November 2008.
Developed at the Village Theatre, Issaquah, WA (Robb Hunt, Executive Producer; Steve Tomkins, Artistic Director).
An earlier version was presented in the 2005 New York Musical Theatre Festival.
Support for the development of Next To Normal was provided by the Jonathan Larson Foundation.
Next to Normal is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.mtishows.com
ANY VIDEO AND/OR AUDIO RECORDING OF THIS PRODUCTION IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED
VIEW PRODUCTION MEDIA
Production Photos by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo. View full album.
On this page you'll find detailed programmatic information
as well as notes from directors, designers, and the cast
about how our production of NEXT TO NORMAL
took shape over the past few months.
A note from
M. Bevin O'Gara, Director
First and foremost, this letter serves as a HUGE shout out to the incredible team of artists and technicians and administrators, who kept each other safe and made it possible for this production to stay healthy. It is only because of many forgone parties, refused invitations, and a tremendous amount of responsibility from the students involved in this production that we are able to be here today. Their dedication and commitment to each other, and the health and safety of our little community, should be an inspiration to us all. I look forward to seeing what this type of thoughtfulness and service of the common good will bring to our industry moving forward. Thank you. They are all Rock Stars.
The story of the Goodman family is one that’s so important for this moment as we stumble (hopefully) out of this pandemic. A pandemic that has left us all feeling isolated and drained. We are in a mental health crisis. And how we choose to focus on and care for ourselves and one another is so incredibly important. It’s also a huge challenge. Next to Normal might not provide any answers as to how we go about doing this—the Goodmans certainly don’t find one—but it can show us how we need to keep trying. What else is there to do?
And not to ruin the ending for you or anything (I’m sure most of you already know it), but I will invite you to really listen to the ending of our show. It caught me by surprise the other night. No, I wasn't just surprised, I was moved. I was reminded why it’s so important to be here. To be telling stories. To be creating theatre. It’s to tell us that “The wasted world we thought we knew—the light will make it look brand new. Let it shine. There will be Light.” May our darkest skies someday see the light.
ABOUT M. BEVIN O'GARA
Emerson Stage Debut. Bevin spent three years as Producing Artistic Director at the Kitchen Theater Company in Ithaca, NY. There she directed Cry It Out, Proof, Tribes, Grounded, Ironbound, Girlfriend, Brawler, and Brahman/i. Other credits include: The Who & The What by Ayad Ahktar, Milk Like Sugar by Kirsten Greenidge (Elliot Norton Award nomination for Best Production) and Becoming Cuba by Melinda Lopez at the Huntington Theatre Company; The Pink Unicorn, Small Mouth Sounds (Elliot Norton for Best Ensemble), The Bridges of Madison County, appropriate, A Future Perfect, Tribes (Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards for Best Production), and Clybourne Park (Elliot Norton Award nomination for Best Production) with SpeakEasy Stage Company; Brahman/i, Chronicles of Kalki, You for Me for You, Love Person, and The Pain and the Itch with Company One Theatre; Brawler, Two Wives in India and Gary (Elliot Norton Award nomination for Best Production) with Boston Playwrights’ Theatre; Phedre with Actors’ Shakespeare Project; Fast Company with the Lyric Stage Company, Marjorie Prime with the Nora Theatre Company, How Soft the Lining and Translations with Bad Habit Productions, 2.5 Minute Ride with New Repertory Theatre, and Melancholy Play with Holland Productions. She holds a BFA in Theatre Studies from Boston University and is currently teaching at Emerson College and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
A note from
I like to think about what kind of Next to Normal would be written today. It is simpler to believe that we, as a human race, have become more accepting and have erased the stigma of mental illness, however that is not all true. It is obvious that people have been affected more than we realize by COVID-19 and all that came with it. This “new normal” has reconditioned all of us. We are all struggling right now to survive, to communicate, to connect, and there are forces outside of our control that get in the way. It is comforting, however, to know that art can survive a crisis like this. We need this art to survive, it is essential.
ABOUT THE DRAMATURG
MICHELLE SHAPIRO, MFA '23 Theatre Education
Emerson College theatre credit: Musical Theatre Society’s Big Fish (Assistant Director/Sound Designer). Thanks to the cast and crew, much love to Feola & Lafo, so proud of you! michelleashapiro.com
Authors & Rights Holder
BRIAN YORKEY, LYRICIST/LIBRETTIST
Yorkey received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as the 2009 Tony Award for Best Score, for Next to Normal. Brian is currently the Executive Producer and Showrunner of 13 Reasons Why for Netflix, Paramount Television and Anonymous Content.
Brian was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical for Next to Normal, and his work on the show earned him the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Score. He partnered again with the Next to Normal team on If/Then (Tony Award Nominee for Best Score) starring Idina Menzel. Brian co-wrote the libretto for The Last Ship (Outer Critic's Nomination, with John Logan), with a score by Sting. His musical adaptation of Freaky Friday for Disney Theatricals enjoyed a National Tour before being adapted into a Disney Channel Original Movie. Current theatrical projects in development include the original musical Jesus in My Bedroom, with composer Tim Symons, as well as stage musical adaptation of Magic Mike.
Additional theatre credits include Making Tracks, which has played off-Broadway and regionally, the musical adaptation of Ang Lee's The Wedding Banquet and the play, Book of Jobs with Alex Glover. Brian has directed off-Broadway and regionally and for seven years was associate artistic director at Village Theatre in Washington state, one of the nation's leading producers of new musicals.
He's a graduate of Columbia University, where he was artistic director of the Varsity Show, an alum of the BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the WGA.
TOM KITT, COMPOSER
KITT received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as two Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestrations for Next to Normal. Next to Normal also received the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Score. He is also the composer of If/Then (Tony Nom., Outer Critics Nom.); High Fidelity (Broadway); Bring it On, The Musical (co-composer with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Broadway); Superhero (2nd Stage); Disney's Freaky Friday (Stage Production and Original Disney Channel Movie Musical); Dave (Arena Stage); The Winter's Tale, All's Well That Ends Well, and Cymbeline (The Public's NYSF); From Up Here and The Madrid (MTC); Orphans (Broadway), The Retributionists (Playwrights Horizons), and As You Like It (Toho Co., Japan). As a music supervisor, arranger, and orchestrator, credits include SpongeBob Squarepants, The Musical (Tony Nom., Outer Critics Nom, Drama Desk Nom.); Head Over Heels; Jagged Little Pill; Grease Live!; Rise (NBC); and American Idiot. His work with Green Day also includes additional arrangements for their Grammy Award-winning album 21st Century Breakdown and their album trilogy, ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! Tom received an Emmy Award as co-writer (with Lin-Manuel Miranda) for the 2013 Tony Award opening number, Bigger. Other Television Songwriting credits include a musical episode of Royal Pains, and songs for Penny Dreadful, Sesame Street, and Julie's Greenroom. As a musical director, conductor, arranger and orchestrator, credits include the Pitch Perfect films, 2Cellos featuring Lang Lang (Live and Let Die), The Kennedy Center Honors, 13, Debbie Does Dallas, Everyday Rapture, Hair, Laugh Whore, Pippin (Deaf West), and These Paper Bullets. Upcoming projects include musical adaptations of the films Almost Famous, Magic Mike, and The Visitor.
MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL, RIGHTS HOLDER
Music Theatre International (MTI) is one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting theatres from around the world the rights to perform the greatest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond. Founded in 1952 by composer Frank Loesser and orchestrator Don Walker, MTI is a driving force in advancing musical theatre as a vibrant and engaging art form.
MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these musicals to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 70,000 professional, community and school theatres in the US and in over 60 countries worldwide.
MTI is particularly dedicated to educational theatre, and has created special collections to meet the needs of various types of performers and audiences. MTI’s Broadway Junior™ shows are 30- and 60-minute musicals for performance by elementary and middle school-aged performers, while MTI’s School Editions are musicals annotated for performance by high school students.
DANIEL WOZNIAK, BFA '22 Theatre Design/Technology
Emerson Stage credits: What Remains Hidden (Is Still Known) (2nd Assistant Scenic Designer); Stupid F##king Bird (Assistant Scenic Designer); Good Breeding (1st Assistant Scenic Designer); This Golden Day (Assistant Props Lead); Going to California (Scenic Designer); Spring Awakening (Assistant Scenic Designer); This Girl…Nothing (Assistant Props Lead). Daniel would like to thank Kristin Knutson, Joe Keener III, Bevin O’Gara, Deb Booth, and the design and production teams. He would also like to thank his family, for encouraging his pursuit of design, and his boyfriend Dylan, for always being a source of comfort.
Past prop credits: Emerson Stage: Stupid F##king Bird, Men on Boats; Brandeis University: Circle Mirror Transformation; Moonbox Productions: Cabaret; Gloucester Stage: the Agitators, Barefoot in the Park, Tiny Beautiful Things, Seared, Think of Me Tuesday; Lyric Stage: Breath and Imagination, Little Shop of Horrors, Murder on the Orient Express, The Cake, The Treasurer, Be Here Now, The Last Five Years, and Mr. Parent. Thanks to Ava, Olivia, Ryan, and the shop!
Chelsea Kerl (she/her) is a Boston-based freelance artist and educator. Select recent designs include: Witch (The Huntington); Parade (Moonbox Productions); Pass Over (SpeakEasy Stage Company/Front Porch Arts Collective); Greater Good (Company One Theatre/American Repertory Theatre); Willy Wonka (Wheelock Family Theatre at BU). Other: costume shop manager, resident costume designer, and costume design professor at Wellesley College and Wellesley Repertory Theatre; affiliated faculty at Emerson College; previously staff in the costume shop of the American Repertory Theatre. Education: MFA in costume design from Boston University, previously attended the University of Maryland. Chelseakerl.com.
NARISSA KELLIHER, BFA '23 Theatre Design/Technology
Emerson Stage credits: Marisol (Assistant Lighting Designer), Interior of the Artist Without Her Sister (Assistant Lighting Designer), Corduroy (vMix Technician), and This Golden Day (Assistant Lead Electrician). Emerson College credits: Full Fathom Productions’ Fefu and Her Friends (Lighting Designer); Mercutio Troupe’s Spooktacular (Lighting Designer); and Emerson Shakespeare Society’s Helen (Lighting Designer). Upcoming: Emerson Stage’s Into the Woods (Lead Electrician).
SUSAN EYRING, BFA '23 Theatre Design/Technology
Emerson Stage credits: Spring Awakening and This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing (Assistant Production Sound Engineer), Going to California and Marie Antoinette (Assistant Sound Designer). Emerson credits: Emerson Shakespeare Society’s Humble Boy (Mix Engineer), EVVY40 (Audio Assistant), and EVVY41 (Audio Manager). Other Credits: French Woods Festival’s Fiddler on the Roof and Catch Me If You Can (A2). Thanks to Lucy, Mom, Dad, Bevin, and Team Sound for the endless support. soeyring.wixsite.com/home
ANTHONY FEOLA, BFA '22 Stage and Production Management
Emerson Stage credits: Marisol (Stage Manager), The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Production Supervisor), Spring Awakening (First Assistant Stage Manager), Stupid F##king Bird (Second Assistant Stage Manager), and Into the Woods (upcoming, Associate Production Supervisor). Other Emerson credits: Big Fish (Stage Manager); 13! The Musical (Stage Manager); and EVVY41 (upcoming, Stage Manager). Professional credits: Northern Stages’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (Replacement Production Stage Manager) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Assistant Stage Manager). Anthony would like to thank his family and friends for all of their support, especially Deb and Tim for all of their guidance through this process.
ROBERTA ALAMAN (she/her/hers)—Diana
BFA '22 Musical Theatre. Emerson Stage credits: Stupid F##king Bird (Emma) and This Golden Day (Ensemble Member). Emerson College credits: Musical Theatre Society’s Heathers (Heather Duke), Emerson Fights AIDS Miscast 2019, and Cabaret of Color 2020. I’d like to thank our lovely director, music director, cast, and crew for working gracefully under pressure. Making theatre with you guys is the best!
MAX CONNOR (he/him/his)—Gabe
BFA '24 Musical Theater. Emerson Stage credit: This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing (Narrator). Emerson College credits: Mercutio Troupe's The Trial of Errors (Dexter). Other credits: Weston Drama Workshop's Merrily We Roll Along (Frank). Thanks to family and friends for all the wonderful support!
DENNIS DIZON (he/him/his)—Doctor
BFA '22 Musical Theatre. Emerson Stage credits: Spring Awakening (Otto/Dance Captain), This Golden Day (Male Swing), and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Bailiff). Emerson College credits: Children of Eden (Cain), Cabaret of Color 2018-19, Emerson Dance Company (Choreographer), and Emerson Urban Dance Theatre (Hip Hop and Tap Companies). Thanks to family, friends, and MT class of '22! @dennisdzon. dennisdizon.com
LAUREN DODDS—Understudy, Natalie
BFA '23, Musical Theatre. Emerson Stage credits: Marie Antoinette (The Dauphin, u/s A Sheep), This Golden Day (u/s Maura). Emerson College credits: Kidding Around’s 13! the Musical (Patrice), She Kills Monsters (asst. Dramaturg) and All Grown Up Cabaret; Musical Theatre Society’s EFA Miscast Cabaret; Mercutio Troupe’s The Trial of Errors (Carmen); and Musical Theatre Against the Grain’s Inaugural Cabaret. Regional credits: Theatre Under the Stars’ The Music Man (Ensemble), Elf (Elf), Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan (Lost Boy), and Annie (Orphan u/s Molly, Kate, Tessie); Houston Shakespeare Festival’s Hamlet (Player) and Comedy of Errors (Policeman). Audience of one. Laurendodds.net
CEDRICK EKRA (he/him/his)—Dan
BFA Musical Theatre '22. Emerson Stage credits: Stupid F##king Bird (Trigorin), This Golden Day (Wesley), Spring Awakening (Melchior), and Marie Antoinette (Fersen). Emerson College credits: Musical Theatre Society's Children of Eden (Father) and Next to Normal (Dr.Fine/Madden). Regional credits: Playhouse on Park's Scottsboro Boys (Clarence), Jean's Playhouse's Evita (Magaldi) and Clue (Professor Plum). Much love to the cast! Bisou mama cedrickekra.com
ISABEL GINSBERG (she/her/hers)—Natalie
BFA '22 Musical Theatre. Emerson Stage credits: Spring Awakening (Ilse) and This Golden Day (Understudy). Emerson College credits: Musical Theatre Society's Big Fish (Sandra) and Little Women (Marmee); and Kidding Around's 13! the Musical (Lucy). Special thanks to family, friends, Elena, and Helen who were all so supportive during this process. There will be light.
EMERSON HART (he/him/his)—Understudy, Gabe/Henry
BFA '23 Musical Theatre. Emerson Stage credits: Spring Awakening (understudy, Moritz; swing, Hanschen/Otto). Emerson College credits: Musical Theatre Society’s La Cage Aux Folles (Georges). Thank you to my family for their love and support.
HAWA KAMARA (she/her/her)—Understudy, Diana
BFA '23 Musical Theatre. Emerson Stage credits: Men on Boats (Bradley), Spring Awakening (Martha), and The Late Wedding (Ensemble). So glad to have this opportunity!
ANTHONY LAFORNARA (he/him)—Choreographer and Understudy, Dan/Doctor. BFA '22 Musical Theatre. Emerson Stage acting debut! Emerson Stage credit: Spring Awakening (Assistant Director). Emerson College credits: Musical Theatre Society’s Big Fish (Director/Choreographer), Children of Eden (Japheth), and Little Women (Professor Bhaer). Thank you to his friends and family for all of their love and support, and to the wonderful production team and cast who brought this beautiful show to life!
ALEXANDER SERINO (he/him/his)—Henry
BFA '24 Theater Education and Performance
Emerson Stage credit: NewFest Short Works—Temperature. Emerson College theatre credits: Musical Theatre Society’s Big Fish (Don Price), and Full Fathom Productions' Exposed (David). Other credits: Weston Drama Workshop’s Spongebob The Musical (Spongebob). Thanks to my family and my friends for the support!
Piano/Musical Director JONATHAN GOLDBERG
Synth/Assistant Musical Director JAKE COLLINS
Violin PETER STICKEL
Cello JOHN BUMSTEAD
Guitar TOM YOUNG
Bass KATE FOSS
Percussion MICHAEL AMBROSZEWSKI
Artistic and Production Staff
Assistant Director CHANDLER DAVID
Assistant Music Director JAKE COLLINS
Choreographer ANTHONY LAFORNARA
Assistant Scenic Designer ARIANA DOOKHRAN
Assistant Props Lead OLIVIA MILLER
Assistant Props Lead AVA SCANLON
Assistant Costume Designer MUNROE SHEARER
Wardrobe Supervisor MOLLY SHAUGHNESSY
Associate Lighting Designer JOE MORALES
Assistant Lighting Designer MIA MOORE
Lead Electrician MIKAYLA BROWN
Assistant Lead Electrician HANNAH FORSBERG
Associate Sound Designer JUANMA SUAREZ
Production Sound Engineer SARAH MILLER
Assistant Production Sound Engineer LAUREN HODGKINS
A2 DYLAN NORRIS AND JUANMA SUAREZ
Mix Engineer SUSAN EYRING
Assistant Stage Manager CARLY ZAMOST
2nd Assistant Stage Manager DELENE BEAUCHAMP
Production Assistant JANIE HILLMAN
Production Supervisor ALEX TAWID DI MAGGIO
Associate Production Supervisor OLIVIA TIGHE
Company Manager CARLEIGH ALLEN
Assistant Company Manager MADISON SELBY
Valentina Baez, Madeline Carleton, Esther Chilson,
Gabriela Delgado Bermudez, Brittany Forsmo, Javier Garcia, Annabelle Goldsmith, Ella Hagg, Luke Joyce, CeCe Lampa, Kelly O'Bryan, Bella Raquel Moller,
Callan Whitley, Clairenne Wilson
Emerson Stage Staff
Artistic Director—Annie G. Levy
General Manager—David Colfer
Production Manager—Timothey Sullivan
Technical Director—Kristin Knutson
Props Director—Ryan Bates
Costume Shop Supervisor—Richelle Devereaux-Murray
Resident Sound Designer—Elizabeth Cahill
Head Carpenter—Connor Thompson
Scenic Painter—Joe Keener
Sound Technician—Steven Deptula
Assistant General Manager—Alix Bigley
Assistant Costume Shop Supervisor—Brian Choinski
Assistant Properties Manager—Lauren Corcuera
Stage and Production Management—Debra A. Acquavella
Scenic Design—Luciana Stecconi
Scenic Painting—Joe Keener
Costume Design—Chelsea Kerl
Lighting Design—Scott Pinkney
Sound Design—Elizabeth Cahill
Emerson Stage Office Assistants— Shannon Horsey, Alex Tawid Di Maggio, Jake Tolentino
Production Management Assistants—Carleigh Allen and Anthony Feola
Videographers—Benjamin Bernard and Jacqueline Thom
Scene Shop Staff— Jonah Barricklo, Sean Dougherty, Marco Giacona, Emerson Hart, Sam Kisthardt, Baz Kouba, Dylan Norris, Mercedes Suarez
Scenic Artists/Painters—Elizabeth Fuire, Sofia Goldfarb, Sophie Hartstein, Yue Hua, Jennifer Naa, Ayaana Nayak, Fernando Rueda, David Staats, Garrett Trae
Prop Shop Assistant—Leah Heath
Stitchers—Tayla Dixon, David Estabrooks, Grace Fitzgerald, Emily Geldermann,
Caitlin Johnson, Lorence Jones-Perpich, Dominic Letterii, Justina MacNeil, Molly Shaughnessy, Munroe Shearer, Trixie Ward
Laundry Assistants—Aleah Bloom and Angelina Parillo
Stock Attendants—Megan Decker, Jessica Immel, Lucile Lyon