Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Far From Normal For Broadway

Far From Normal For Broadway

Yesterday, it was announced that Next To Normal -- a musical from Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey -- will turn things upside down on the Great White Way when it lands this April 15 at the Longacre Theatre.

According to The New York Times, the production will take the unprecedented step of purposely reducing the number of seats to provide a more intimate atmosphere. The capacity will be reduced from 1100 to just 820. Producer David Stone says:

We want an 800-seat theater but none were available, and this is a very emotional play and I’m a big believer in creating the theater space you need.

Given this economy, you have to give the guy credit.

While Michael Greif (Rent and Grey Gardens) will once again direct the tuner, as he did Off-Broadway and at the DC area's Arena Stage, there's no word on casting other than a reference in the Times piece describing the musical:

The musical, budgeted at $4 million, centers on a woman with bipolar
disorder (played by the Tony nominee Alice Ripley) and the impact of her illness
and her treatment on her family.

Presumably, this will go on without Brian d'Arcy James, who's already appearing on Broadway in Shrek The Musical. Stay tuned for more details.

UPDATED (2.25.09, 9:10 a.m. EST): According to, the entire cast from Arena Stage -- Alice Ripley, J. Robert Spencer, Aaron Tveit, Jennifer Damiano, Adam Chanler-Berat and Louis Hobson -- will return to their roles at the Booth Theatre instead of the Longacre.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 18 February, 2009, Blogger Vance said...

J. Robert Spencer (Jersey Boys) took over in DC when it played at the Arena Theatre. I still however didn't love the show. At one point during the first act I almost did but then by the end of the show, I felt it never gained enough momentum and got a bit messy, plus by the end, all the songs sounded the same.

But the cast is great, especially (my fav) Aaron Tveit and Jennifer Damiano!

At 18 February, 2009, Blogger Alicia said...

Does this mean the Aaron Tveit is no longer associated with the Seattle tryout of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN?

Glad it's making the transfer, since I missed it the last time 'round and, with so many diverse opinions, I'm anxious to make up my own mind.

At 18 February, 2009, Blogger Vance said...

That's the first thing I was thinking too Alicia. What happens with Tveit in CMIYC. Maybe he will leave NtN in the summer post-Tony's.

At 19 February, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Of course, now it has been reported that the entire Arena Stage cast, including Tveit, will be part of the production. Could it be that Tveit might still be associated with Catch Me If You Can with the thought that Next To Normal will be short-lived?

At 19 February, 2009, Blogger Vance said...

I didn't want to say that (!) and be hopeful but yah, while I'm glad NtN is getting its time of day, I'm not really sure it will last very long. I know there are the fans out there but I doubt it will gain the momentum like Grief's other show Rent and I doubt it will even garner enough Grey Gardens/A Catered Affair "classy musicals" support (both which didn't last that long themselves anyways).

But at least the set and lighting (Kevin Adams again!) will be eligible for a Tony! Ditto the cast! At least the production is superb!


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