Transport Group Presents 'Normal,' Begins Performances October 20

Transport Group artistic directors Robyn Hussa and Jack Cummings III have announced that the world premiere of a new American musical, Normal, with book by Yvonne Adrian, lyrics by Cheryl Stern, and music by Tom Kochan, will begin performances on Thursday, October 20 at 8pm at the Connelly Theatre, 220 East 4 Street. Normal, which is directed by Mr. Cummings (who received a Drama Desk Award nomination last year for his direction of The Audience), is scheduled to open Sunday, October 30 at 3pm.

An original musical, Normal takes a close look at a 'perfect and happy' American family and what happens when an unexpected crisis suddenly shakes them to the bone. A mother sets out on a terrifying, yet ironically humorous mission to save her daughter whose life is threatened by an eating disorder. Normal limns the roller coaster ride of life—full of love, humor, struggle, and discovery—and wonders if someone can ever be fully responsible for saving another person's life.

The cast of Normal is Barbara Walsh (Tony nominee Falsettos, Hairspray), Adam Heller (The Immigrant), Erin Leigh Peck (I Love You, You're Perfect…, Dance of the Vampires), Nicholas Belton (My Life with Albertine), Nancy Johnston (The Secret Garden, The Music Man), Toni DiBuono (Drama Desk winner Forbidden Broadway, The Boys from Syracuse, Wonderful Town), and Shannon Polly (The Audience).

Yvonne Adrian's credits include Fly Boy (Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon; published by Smith and Kraus); Fellini (Theatre Works, Hudson NY 1999); Legendary Siren (Playwrights Theatre Previews Production; J.M Kaplan Award; NY Foundation for the Arts award), and Hollywood Blonde (Ensemble Studio Theatre Octoberfest and Women's Works 1996). Ms. Adrian is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Playwrighting Award and a BMI 2002 Librettist Award. She was a co-writer of Transport Group's world premiere musical, The Audience. With her husband, Ms. Adrian is the founder and proprietor of New York's Triton Gallery, the country's leading theatre art gallery.

Cheryl Stern's credits include That's Life! (with music by Dick Gallagher and Carolyn Sloan; Jewish Repertory Theatre 1994/1995/ Theatre East; Outer Critic's Circle nominee); Buffalonia (solo performance with music by Tom Kochan; Ensemble Studio Theatre Octoberfest 1996); In the Cracks (solo performance; Steve McGraw's 1991, Rainbow and Stars, Break a Leg); In Celebration of Life (benefit performance; original song for Laurie Beechman); original verses for Carnival of the Animals (Cleveland Orchestra commissioned and conducted by Leonard Slatkin); A Christmas Survival Guide (contributed original song; published by Samuel French 2003). She previously worked with Transport Group on Requiem for William and The Audience.

Tom Kochan's credits include original scores for Arthur Miller's The Man Who Had All The Luck -Roundabout Theatre; Smelling a Rat- The New Group; and Mike Leigh's Ecstasy New Group (Obie Award Winner). Other credits with the New Group include Mike Leigh's Goose Pimples and Some Voices. Mr. Kochan received the 2001 Emmy Award for composing As the World Turns and 2002 and 2003 Emmy nominations. He worked on the films Fish and The Square Root of One. He has done six recordings with James Galway and he previously worked with Transport Group on its productions of Requiem for William and The Audience.

Normal received the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award and a Theatre Resources Unlimited Grant. The team also won the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Award.

The scenic design for Normal is by John Story; costume design is by Kathryn Rohe; lighting design is by R. Lee Kennedy (Drama Desk nominee for The Audience); sound design is by Seth Guterman and Ray Schilke. The musical director is John DiPinto. The choreographer is Scott Rink. The production stage manager is Rebecca Yarsin. Casting is by Nora Brennan Casting.

Founded in 2001 by artistic directors Robyn Hussa and Jack Cummings III, Transport Group presented its premiere production in 2002: Thornton Wilder's Our Town, which featured older actors in the roles of Emily and George and a twelve-year-old girl as the Stage Manager. Transport Group's second production, Requiem for William, an evening of seven seldom produced plays by William Inge, that featured a cast of 26 as well as original songs, premiered in 2003. In 2004 Transport Group presented the first New York revival of Michael John LaChiusa's First Lady Suite, which received rave reviews, played to sold-out houses, and earned two Drama Desk Award nominations including Outstanding Revival of a Musical. And earlier this year, its world premiere of the musical The Audience, which featured a cast of 46 actors, earned three Drama Desk Award nominations, including outstanding musical. Transport Group, is a not-for-profit theatre company that develops and produces work by American playwrights and composers with the aim of exploring the human experience in America in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Normal plays Tuesday through Saturday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm, and Sunday at 3pm through November 12 at the Connelly Theatre, 220 East 4th Street, between Avenues A & B (6 to Astor Place, W/N to 8th Street or F/V to Second Avenue). Tickets are $19 and are available at www.theatremania.com or by phoning (212) 352-3101. There is no performance on Tuesday, October 25 and no matinee on Saturday, October 22. There is a special performance on Monday, October 24 at 8pm. For more information about Transport Group and Normal, visit www.transport-group.org.

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