Avon Players Presents: ‘Next to Normal’

An electrifying Pulitzer Prize-winning musical explores mental illness and its profound impact on families

Avon Players is proud to present the intimate and emotional Next to Normal opening Friday, May 23, 2014 running through June 7.

(L-R) Ferndale resident Ryan Moore (Dr. Madden) with Shelby Township resident Jennifer Combs (Diana Goodman) in Next to Normal.

(L-R) Ferndale resident Ryan Moore (Dr. Madden) with Shelby Township resident Jennifer Combs (Diana Goodman) in ‘Next to Normal.’

The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical explores how one suburban household copes with effects of prolonged mental illness. Wife and mother Diana Goodman’s struggle with bipolar disorder reverberates through her family, including her steadfast but long-suffering husband Dan, her isolated and strained teenaged daughter Natalie, and her too-good-to-be-true son Gabe. Featuring provocative lyrics and a thrilling rock score, this powerful, engaging, and wholly contemporary musical addresses such issues as grief, relationships, and ethics in modern psychiatry with heart, humor, and, ultimately, hope.

When Next to Normal was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2010, it was only the eighth musical in history to receive the honor. In awarding the prize to authors Tom Kitt (music) and Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics), the Pulitzer Board highlighted the show’s game-changing attributes by calling the show “a powerful rock musical that grapples with mental illness in a suburban family and expands the scope of subject matter for musicals.”  Next to Normal was also nominated for eleven Tony awards in 2009 and won three: Best Original Score, Best Orchestration and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for Alice Ripley.

(L-R) Rochester Hills resident Aubrey Fink (Natalie) with Shelby Township resident Jennifer Combs (Diana Goodman) and Davison resident Dan Romzek (Dan Goodman) in Next to Normal.

(L-R) Rochester Hills resident Aubrey Fink (Natalie) with Shelby Township resident Jennifer Combs (Diana Goodman) and Davison resident Dan Romzek (Dan Goodman) in
‘Next to Normal.’

Director and Avon Players President John (JD) Deierlein was first drawn to the show because of the beauty of its moving and modern score.

“What sets Next to Normal apart for me is the extraordinary use of contemporary song to tell the tale. This rich score brilliantly conveys the emotions of what this family is going through and their tragic story, in a way that musical theatre lovers can truly appreciate.”

Although initially lured by the music, Deierlein soon grew to love the show’s deft handling of sensitive issues. “Next to Normal is also set apart by not passing judgment or trying to sweep under the rug this important social issue. Rather, it presents mental illness as an everyday challenge that can be messy at times and take an enormous toll on a typical American family.”

Tickets for all shows are $20 ($18 on Sundays for students and Seniors). Call 248.608.9077 for tickets or order online at www.avonplayers.org. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. All seats are reserved.  Audience Advisory:  Show rating is “Adult” due serious themes and adult language.  Show dates and times follow:

Friday, May 23          8:00 PM

Saturday, May 24     8:00 PM

Sunday, May 25        2:00 PM

Friday, May 30          8:00 PM

Saturday, May 31     8:00 PM

Sunday, June 1        2:00 PM

Friday, June 6           8:00 PM

Saturday, June 7      8:00 PM

Next to Normal Cast and Production Staff List

Davison

Dan Romzek (“Dan Goodman”)

Ferndale

Ryan S. Moore (“Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden”)

Oxford

Joseph Isaac (“Henry”)

Pontiac

Aubrey Fink (“Natalie Goodman”)

Rochester

Mark Misch (Assistant Producer)

Rochester Hills

John (JD) Deierlein (Director)

Peggy Deierlein (Producer)

Shelby Township

Jennifer Combs (“Diana Goodman”)

James Jenuwine (“Gabe Goodman”)

Troy

Michelle Manoni (Costume Design)

West Bloomfield Township

Matt Kush (Conductor)

About Avon Players

Avon Players is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit community theatre located along the winding banks of Stoney Creek in the quaint Historic District of Rochester Hills, only about two miles from the heart of downtown Rochester. Now in its 67th year, Avon Players presents five full-scale productions as well as a youth theatre production each year, offering high quality shows at affordable prices. Avon Players has been performing shows in its unique A-frame theater since 1965.

About Sarah Hovis

Word manipulator, arts appreciator, sports spectator, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.

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