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Next to Normal, Westport Country Playhouse, Westport, CT, USA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta   
Next to Normal - Westport Country Playhouse - photo by Carol Rosegg
Since 1931, the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Connecticut has brought world-class performances to its patrons. Their staging of Next to Normal, the three-time Tony Award®-winning Pop/Rock musical and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, with a diverse cast led by Broadway's Dar.Lee.See.Ah. and Wilson Jermaine Heredia, once again affirms its commitment to being on the cutting edge and always delivering the very best. Joining this impressive cast is Ashley Lalonde, Daniel J. Maldonado, Gian Perez, and Katie Thompson. This powerful play about mental health and the effects it has on family members will resonate long after you leave the theatre. This powerhouse of a play runs until April 24, 2022 and is "must-see" theatre. Bravo!

 

Dar. Lee. See. Ah., Wilson Jermaine Heredia - Next to Normal - WCP - photo by Carol Rosegg
Dar. Lee. See. Ah. (Diana)
Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Dan)
Next to Normal

We had the pleasure of seeing Next to Normal on opening night, Saturday, April 9, 2022, at the Westport Country Playhouse. This award-winning musical made its debut on Broadway in April 2009, earning eleven nominations and earning three Tony Awards for Best Original Score, Best Orchestration, and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical. Writers Tim Kitt (Music) and Brian Yorkey (Book + Lyrics) followed that up by winning a 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Next to Normal is a formidable play about the devastating effects that mental health issues have not only on the afflicted who must cope with their illness, but the intense effects it has on all family members as well, who must adapt their own lives, and pick up the emotional pieces. The play uses a pop/rock musical background to help convey its message and has a six-piece band in the orchestra pit (Emily Croome, Melody Allegra Berger, Wes Bourland, Andy Buslovich, Bobbie Lee Crow III, Arei Sekiguchi).

Broadway veterans Dar.Lee.See.Ah. plays Diana, the mother of the family who struggles with bipolar disease, Wilson Jermaine Heredia plays Dan, her supportive, loving, and faithful husband. Together they bring their dynamic chemistry and arsenal of Broadway credits to those highly emotional and evocative roles and deliver the very best.

Dar. Lee. See. Ah., Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Ashley Lalonde - Next to Normal - WCP - photo by Carol Rosegg
Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Dan)
Dar. Lee. See. Ah. (Diana)
Ashley LaLonde (Natalie)
Next to Normal

Ashley LaLonde plays their oft forgotten but brilliant 16-year-old daughter, Natalie, Daniel J. Maldonado plays their deceased son, Gabe. Rounding out the impressive cast are Henry, Natalie's boyfriend played by Gian Perez, and Katie Thompson plays the dual roles of Dr. Madden and Dr. Fine. This cast is as fine as it gets, and Director/Choreographer Marcos Santos (who also directed the Westport Country Playhouse's 2019 production of In the Heights) helps them deliver a performance that is phenomenal!

Dar. Lee. See. Ah., Daniel J. Maldonado, Wilson Jermaine Heredia - Next to Normal - WCP - photo by Carol Rosegg
Dar. Lee. See. Ah. (Diana)
Daniel J. Maldonado (Gabe)
Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Dan)
Next to Normal

With a large cast of six actors, it is important to recognize the talent of each cast member with their exceptional acting and strong voices to execute the pop/rock musical numbers (22 songs in Act I, 21 songs in Act II) that make this musical such a gripping, emotional roller-coaster of a ride.

Dar. Lee. See. Ah., Wilson Jermaine Heredia - Next to Normal - WCP - photo by Carol Rosegg
Dar. Lee. See. Ah. (Diana)
Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Dan)
Next to Normal

Opening night was a celebration of the start of the 2022 Westport Country Playhouse season, as well as a celebration of the return to live theatre. The full-house audience applauded, cheered, and cried at times, during this dynamic production that ended with a thunderous, and well-deserved standing ovation.

Ashley LaLonde, Dar. Lee. See. Ah., Wilson Jermaine Heredia - Next to Normal - WCP - photo by Carol Rosegg
Ashley LaLonde (Natalie)
Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Dan)
Dar. Lee. See. Ah. (Diana)
Next to Normal

Making the evening extra special was the number of actors in attendance who had appeared in prior Westport Country Playhouse productions we had seen, including Paola Hernandez (Man of La Mancha), Jermaine Rowe (Mlima's Tale, Man of La Mancha), David Sattler (Man of La Mancha), Clay Singer (Man of La Mancha), and Rodolfo Soto (In the Heights), to name but a few, who came to support the 2022 season and their fellow actors.

As it was opening night, there was a post-reception in "The Barn" where the excitement of the evening carried over as theatre patrons and actors met and talked about what they love, the theatre.

Katie Thompson, Gian Perez, Daniel J. Maldonado, Ashley LaLonde, Dar. Lee. See. Ah., Wilson Jermaine Heredia - Next to Normal - WCP - photo by Carol Rosegg
Katie Thompson (Dr. Madden), Dar. Lee. See. Ah. (Diana)
Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Dan), Daniel J. Maldonado (Gabe)
Ashley LaLonde (Natalie), Gian Perez (Henry)
Next to Normal

Next to Normal is a powerhouse of a play that should be experienced.

The play runs until April 24, 2024. Play run time is 2 hours and 15 minutes with an intermission. Due to its subject matter, best suited to audiences over 14 years.

Until next time, keep enjoying and supporting the arts!

Next to Normal Creative Team

Music By
Tim Kitt
Book + Lyrics
Brian Yorkey
Director/Choreographer
Marcos Santos
Scenic Designer
Adam Koch
Costume Designer
Jen Caprio
Lighting Designer
Cory Pattak
Sound Design
Domonic Sack
Music Director
Emily Croome
Associate Director/Choreographer
Natalie Caruncho
Props Supervisor
Sean Sanford
Dramaturg
Katie Ciszek
Production Stage Manager
Caitlin Kellermeyer
Assistant Stage Manager
Michelle Lauren Tuite
Casting
Tara Rubin Casting
Claire Burke, CSA

 Next to Normal Cast

Diana
Dar.Lee.See.Ah.
Dan
Wilson Jermaine Heredia
Natalie
Ashley LaLonde
Gabe
Daniel J. Maldonado
Henry
Gian Perez
Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine
Katie Thompson

Next to Normal Band

Keyboard
Emily Croome
Violin, Keyboard/Synth
Melody Allegra Berger
Electric and Upright Bass
Wes Bourlard
Electric and Acoustic Guitar
Andy Buslovich
Cello
Bobbie Lee Crow III
Drums and Percussion
Arei Sekiguchi

Playhouse Production Team                      

Associate Producer/Director of Production
David Dreyfoos
Technical Director/Associate Director of Production
RJ Romero
Company Manager
Bruce Miller
Company Manager
Max Hunt
Head Shop Carpenter/Flyman
Jason Thompson
Shop Carpenter
Scott A. Trichka
Wardrobe Supervisor
Lisa Ficco
Head Electrician/Lightboard Operator
James Kevin Fournelle
Head Sound
Jon Damast

For this Production

Associate Scenic Design
Steven Royal
Assistant Lighting Design
Shelby Loera
Assistant Sound Design
Josh Liebert
Sound Mixer
Stephen Henshaw
Flyman
Fred Graham
Dresser/Crew
Jessica Camarero
Production Assistant
Gwen Sewell
Lightboard Programmer
Paul Vaillancourt
Behavioral Health Consultant
Nicole Eastwood
Dramaturg
Katie Ciszek

Link for Westport Country Playhouse's "Next to Normal" Show Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?sourceNumber=5837&v=Dki3tJqiMWY&feature=youtu.be

About the Westport Country Playhouse 

The Westport Country Playhouse named as "Theatre Company of the Year" in December 2013 by The Wall Street Journal, opened on June 29, 1931, in a transformed 1835 cow barn, which has, and continues to attract, a "who's who" of prominent actors. 

Looking at the framed posters of past shows that line the lobby walls was like entering an encyclopedia of the arts. A few of the renowned actors who have appeared on the stage there include Ethyl Barrymore, Dorothy and Lillian Gish, Tallulah Bankhead, Gloria Swanson, Don Ameche, Hume Cronin and Jessica Tandy, Jane Fonda, Danny Aiello, Blythe Danner, Jill Clayburgh, Richard Dreyfus, Whoopi Goldberg, Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, Lynn Redgrave, Gene Wilder, and Westport residents Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. 

"Westport Country Playhouse, a not-for-profit theater, serves as a cultural nexus for patrons, artists and students and is a treasured resource for the State of Connecticut. There are no boundaries to the creative thinking for future seasons or the kinds of audiences and excitement for theater that Westport Country Playhouse can build."    

"The mission of Westport Country Playhouse is to enrich, enlighten, and engage the community through the power of professionally produced theater of the highest caliber and the welcoming experience of the Playhouse campus.  The not-for-profit Playhouse provides this experience in multiple ways by offering live theater experiences of the highest quality, under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos; educational and community engagement events to further explore the work on stage; the New Works Initiative, a program dedicated to the discovery, development, and production of new live theatrical works; special performances and programs for students and teachers with extensive curriculum support material; Script in Hand play readings to deepen relationships with audiences and artists; the renowned Woodward Internship Program during the summer months for aspiring theater professionals; Family Festivities presentations to delight young and old alike and to promote reading through live theater; and the beautiful and historic Playhouse campus open for enjoyment and community events year-round.  Charity Navigator has recently awarded its top 4-star charity rating to the Playhouse in recognition of its strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency." 

For information on Next to Normal or upcoming performances, or to purchase tickets, please call the box office at +1-203-227-4177, email them at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  or visit the website at www.WestportPlayhouse.org. 

Performance schedule for Next to Normal: Tuesday at 7:00 pm, Wednesday at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm. (No Wednesday or Saturday matinees during preview week; no Sun. performance on Easter, April 17). Special series include LGBT Night Out (April 7) Post-Play Dialogues (April 7, 12, 19, 22), Opening Night (April 9), Sunday Symposium (April 10), Backstage Pass (April 20), Thursday TalkBack (April 21), and Open Captions (April 24). 

Know Before You Go 

"All audience members must present proof of vaccination and wear a mask at all times while inside Westport Country Playhouse. Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the U.S., requires that actors perform only at theaters where audiences wear masks. For updates on Covid-19 health and safety protocols at the Playhouse, visit https://www.westportplayhouse.org/visit/covid19safety/" 

Upcoming Performances 2022 Season
 

Next to Normal
April 6 - 24, 2022
16th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
May 12, 2022
Straight White Men
May 24 - June 5, 2022
Kim's Convenience
July 5 - 17, 2022
4000 Miles
August 23 - September 4, 2022
From The Mississippi Delta
October 18 - 30, 2022

Westport Country Playhouse, Westport, CT, USA  

Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court
Westport, Connecticut 06880
United States
Box Office:      +1-203-227-4177
Toll-Free:        +1-888-927-7529
Fax:                +1-203-454-3239
Box Office:     +1-203-227-4177
Website:         www.WestportPlayhouse.org
Instagram:     @wcplayhouse  
Twitter:          @wcplayhouse  
 

Follow Westport Country Playhouse on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/WestportCountryPlayhouse 

Follow Luxury Experience on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LuxuryExperience  to see photos and videos. 

Follow Luxury Experience on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/luxurypair @luxurypair 

Follow Luxury Experience on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/luxurypair @luxurypair 

© April 2022. Luxury Experience www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved.

 
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