Alliance Theatre Stages NEXT TO NORMAL, Now thru Nov 11

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Alliance Theatre Stages NEXT TO NORMAL, Now thru Nov 11

Atlanta's nationally acclaimed ALLIANCE THEATRE will stage the multi-award-winning Broadway musical Next to Normal-the production's first run for Atlanta audiences. Next to Normal is the gripping story of a suburban family coping with the affects of mental illness.

With a pop/rock musical score including more than 30 original songs, Next to Normal was nominated for eleven Tony Awards, winning three for Best Original Score (Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey), Best Orchestration (Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt), and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Alice Ripley). It also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, making it only the eighth musical to receive the honor. The awarding Pulitzer Board called Next to Normal "a powerful rock musical that grapples with mental illness…and expands the scope of subject matter for musicals."

"As a producer of innovative American musicals, it was important for The Alliance to stage Next to Normal, one of the rare musicals to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Drama," said Artistic Director Susan V. Booth. Booth last worked with composer Tom Kitt in January 2011, when the ALLIANCE THEATRE gave the world premiere of Bring It On: The Musical, which opened on Broadway August 1, 2012.

The ALLIANCE THEATRE's production of Next to Normal will be directed by Scott Schwartz (Broadway - Golda's Balcony, Jane Eyre). Schwartz has a long history of directing new musicals including the Off-Broadway hits tick, tick…BOOM! and Bat Boy: The Musical; as well as the recent world premiere of the new musical A Room With A View at The Old Globe. On directing Next to Normal, Schwartz said, "Next to Normal has the thrilling pop-rock score that you expect from a contemporary musical, but it also has the depth and complexity of a play. At its core, it's a powerful family drama, and I'm most excited to explore that."

The Next to Normal cast includes a mix of New York and Atlanta based actors. Catherine Porter will play Diana, a suburban mom struggling with depression and bipolar disorder. Porter has been the stand-in for the role of Diana in the Broadway production of Next to Normal since 2010. She has also played leading roles in West End productions of Sunset Boulevard and Only the Lonely. Bob Gaynor (Broadway - Leap of Faith, Catch Me If You Can, Aida) will play Diana's husband Dan. Cary Tedder (Broadway – Memphis, The Times They Are A-Changin') will play Diana and Dan's son Gabe. The Atlanta cast members include Lyndsay Ricketson making her ALLIANCE THEATRE debut playing Diana and Dan's daughter Natalie, and Jordan Craig playing Natalie's boyfriend Henry. Craig last appeared at the ALLIANCE THEATRE as the Tin Man in the 2011/12 production of The Wizard of Oz. Googie Uterhardt will play Diana's doctor, Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine.

Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 2:30 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm, October 5-28, 2012 on the Hertz Stage.

Tickets start at $25 and are available at The Woodruff Arts Center Box Office in person or by calling 404-733-5000. Tickets are also available online at alliancetheatre.org/normal. Discount rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling 404.733.4690. Discount rates are also available for members of the military, seniors and students. The ALLIANCE THEATRE is located at The Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street, at the corner of Peachtree and 15th Street, in Midtown Atlanta.

The ALLIANCE THEATRE is committed to extending dialogue from the stage to the community. Before Play (pre-show) and After Words (post show) events offer audience members the chance to engage in conversation about the issues and ideas presented in the play. Faculty members from Next to Normal sponsor Emory Healthcare and Emory's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences will be on hand at each discussion to facilitate the conversations and answer questions on mental illness and depression. Before Play and After Words are free to ticket holders.

Before Play Opportunities: Tuesday, October 23 – 6:30p, Tuesday, October 30 – 6:30p and Tuesday, November 6 – 6:30p.

After Words Opportunities (immediately following the performance):

Friday, October 19 – Evening Performance
Saturday, October 20 – Matinee Performance
Sunday, October 21 – Matinee Performance
Friday, October 26 – Evening Performance
Saturday, October 27 – Matinee Performance
Sunday, October 28 – Matinee Performance
Friday, November 2 – Evening Performance
Saturday, November 3 – Matinee Performance
Sunday, November 4 – Matinee Performance
Friday, October 9 – Evening Performance
Saturday, October 10 – Matinee Performance
Sunday, October 11 – Matinee Performance

Special Events:

PLAY AFTER WORK – Next to Normal on Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Happy Hour at MODA at 6 p.m.
Next to Normal on the Alliance Stage at 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy two great experiences on the same night! See a great exhibition at MoDA while enjoying light snacks and beverages before you head over to the ALLIANCE THEATRE for the 7:30p performance of Next to Normal – winner of three Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Tickets are $25 and include admission to MODA and a ticket to Next to Normal at the ALLIANCE THEATRE. Bites and bevs at MODA are provided. To purchase tickets call the box office at 404-733-5000 or visit alliancetheatre.org/normal and use promo code PAW25.

Founded in 1968, the ALLIANCE THEATRE remains closely tied to the cultural identity of Atlanta, growing as the city has grown. The theatre has gained national recognition and prominence as we have become a leading international city. In 1977, the Alliance merged with the Atlanta Children's Theatre (founded in 1929) in order to include Atlanta's youngest audiences in fully produced theatrical experiences. In 1979, the Alliance created the Theatre School (now the Acting Program and Education Department) in order to strengthen the relationship with our community. In 2007, under the leadership of Susan Booth, Jennings Hertz Artistic Director, the Alliance received the Regional Theatre Tony Award, in recognition for sustained excellence in programming, education and community engagement.

Realizing that our audience and the national field supports plays developed in Atlanta, the Alliance has created a large body of new work. The Alliance produces world premiere American musicals with a strong track record of Broadway, touring and subsequent regional productions. The theatre creates and nurtures the plays and careers of early career playwrights through the Alliance National Graduate Playwright Competition, providing a premiere for the winner as part of our regular season and national networking opportunities for four finalists. Locally based artists create work on a nationally watched stage, launching and sustaining Atlanta's artistic community. Finally we create and produce original plays for young audiences at every age level: from the Collision Project which creates opportunities for high school artists to collide with classic texts to the ground breaking Theatre for the Very Young, creating interactive work for infants and toddlers.

The Alliance takes great pride in our multi generational educational programming. Believing that the same excellence found on our stage must be found in our education programs, the Alliance created the ALLIANCE THEATRE Institute for Educators and Teaching Artists. A collaborative partnership between the Alliance and partner schools, institute programs equip teachers with theatrical techniques that link directly to school curriculum, align with the Georgia Performance Standards, and increase student learning. These innovative programs include GA Wolf Trap, a nationally recognized professional learning program that focuses on literacy skills for children in pre-K – 2nd grades, Dramaturgy K-12, a unique program that empowers student scholars to create research material that both informs Alliance productions and prepares their peer audiences; and Collision Plus, which takes the creativity and collaboration of the Collision Project into our high school classrooms. The Alliance also offers community education, including classes for all ages and abilities of theatre interest; and adult student productions of unproduced plays in development (working with local writers and playwrights from the National Graduate Playwriting Competition). Twice recognized by the Federal Department of Education as leaders in the field of arts education, these programs reflect the Alliance's commitment to city wide arts access.

The ALLIANCE THEATRE strives to set the highest artistic standards and create the powerful experience of shared theatre for a diverse audience. Above all else, we value excellence, pursued with integrity and creativity, and achieved through collaboration.

The ALLIANCE THEATRE is a division of The Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia, which also houses the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, High Museum of Art and Young Audiences.

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