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Photo Flash: First Look at Actors' Playhouse's NEXT TO NORMAL

Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and three 2009 Tony Awards®, Next to Normal explores how one suburban family copes with crisis. With powerful lyrics and an electrifying pop-rock score of more than 30 songs, this intense, emotional and ultimately hopeful musical aims right for the heart with its story of a family coming to terms with its past and bravely facing its future. 

Actors' Playhouse is proud to be the first regional theatre in South Florida to produce the show following its long Broadway run and National Tour. Next to Normal will be presented at the Miracle Theatre through February 12, 2012.

Check out production shots below!

The most talked about new show on Broadway, Next to Normal is the acclaimed and compelling hit-musical "that pushes Broadway in new directions" (Rolling Stone). Next to Normal's surging score, with emotional book and lyrics, tells the story of one woman's struggle with manic depression and the toll it takes on her family.

"Next to Normal is the most powerful and riveting piece of musical theatre written in the last decade," said Artistic Director David Arisco. "I'm extremely excited to follow in the footsteps of last year's August: Osage County with a production of another Pulitzer Prize-winning work. Our cast, band, design and creative team are more than up to the task of taking our South Florida audience on this electrifying musical journey."

Next to Normal features an impressive cast with strong ties to both the New York and South Florida theatre communities. Jodie Langel, playing Diana, premiered on Broadway as the role of Cosette in Les Miserables and later went on to play the role of Eponine. Now living back in South Florida, Langel's Broadway tour credits include the role of Bertrande in the Pre-Broadway tour of Martin Guerre, the Narrator in the National Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Grizabella in the National Tour of CATS. Mark Sanders, who was last seen as Perchik on the Broadway National Tour of Fiddler on the Roof, will play the role of Dan. Eddy Rioseco, a native Miami boy, will play the role of Gabe. Rioseco's New York shows include Fame (Nick), Mamma Mia (Pepper) and Wicked (Boq), with television/film credits that include "Parenthood" (recurring), "Hacienda Heights" (pilot) and "Chastity Bites" (lead), Sarah Amengual, playing Natalie, is thrilled to be back in her hometown and performing at Actors' Playhouse following a move to NYC to take over the role of Maria in the Broadway production of West Side Story. Ben Liebert, a New York based actor taking on the role of Henry, has spent over two years playing Boq in Wicked, first on Broadway at the Gershwin Theater and then on the first National Tour. Rounding out the cast is Nick Duckart playing the roles of Dr. Madden and Dr. Fine. Duckart, who was last seen at Actors' Playhouse in the World Premiere of The Color of Desire by Nilo Cruz, has a list of prestigious credits including Evita (w/ Lauren Kennedy), Dr. Radio (Carbonell Award) and Farragut North (Carbonell Award).

Next to Normal features music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, and direction by David Arisco. The creative team also includes Gene Seyffer (set design), Ellis Tillman (costume design), Patrick Tennent (lighting design), and Alexander Herrin (sound design). Musical direction is by Eric Alsford.

Preview performances of Next to Normal will be held Wednesday and Thursday, January 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. The show will open on Friday, January 20 at 8 p.m. and play through February 12, 2012. Evening performances will be held Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with afternoon matinees on Sunday at 2 p.m. A special weekday matinee is scheduled on Wednesday, January 25 at 2 p.m.

A series of pre and post-show talkbacks to promote dialogue on mental wellness, lead by Next to Normal's cast members and a team of mental health professionals provided by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, are scheduled throughout the production run. Full details and a complete schedule outline will be available at

Photo Credit: Alberto Romeu

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