Custom Made Theatre Stages NEXT TO NORMAL, Now thru 10/13
When the Rolling Stones sang "Mother's Little Helper," they didn't mean Mom's two-year-old following her around the house with his own little Fisher Price vacuum cleaner. Naah, the Stones' mama was popping pills to get through the day.
In Next to Normal, the Mom isn't just stressed, she has bipolar disorder - and that does not even begin to describe her illness. This Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical, with music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Brian Yorkley, explores how one suburban family copes with crisis and this particular mental problem. Next to Normal is an emotional roller-coaster of a show, taking us from the brightest hope to the deepest despair, and then back again. With soaring melodies and an indie rock score, Next to Normal employs the full power of musical theatre to tell an important, transcendent story.
This will be the first production in San Francisco since the Broadway tour, and the first time Next to Normal has been staged in such an intimate way. With Dan and Diana's home encased by the Gough St thrust stage, audiences are merely feet away from the drama surrounding them, and the emotional violence of the story, as well as its humor and hope. The Best of Broadway road show played at the Curran Theatre in 2011, and San Jose Rep staged it in early 2013. Just before the production closed in San Jose, the very ambitious Pinole Players staged the East Bay premiere - directed by Custom Made's Brian Katz.
NEXT TO NORMAL features Lisa-Marie Newton (Diana), LaMont Ridgell (Dan), Mackenzie Cala (Natalie), Danny Gould (Gabe), Jordon Bridges (Henry), and Perry Aliado (Dr. Madden, Dr. Fine).
Next to Normal opens Sept. 17 and runs through October 13. Previews tonight, Sept. 13-15, 8:00 p.m. $30. Opening Night Sept. 17, 8:00 p.m. $50. Runs Thurs-Fri 8:00 pm; Sat. 2:00 & 8:00 pm; Sun 7:00 pm through Oct. 13. Tickets are $37-$43, with discounts for Students, Seniors, and TBA members with proper I.D. Gough Street Playhouse, 1622 Gough Street, San Francisco. (415) 798-CMTC, www.custommade.org.