Pioneer Theatre Company Presents NEXT TO NORMAL, 9/16-10/1

Pioneer Theatre Company presents the Utah Premiere of the Tony Award-winning musical, Next to Normal.

Next to Normal, also winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, has earned accolades around the world for its tender, insightful, funny and heart-breaking portrayal of a family trying bravely to come to terms with life, love, and loss.

The Goodmans seem like a perfect family. The only problem is that sometimes mother Diana seems, well...a little too happy, and we soon find out why. Her husband Dan worries all the time. Their daughter Natalie is intent on getting a scholarship to Yale and leaving home. And their son Gabe, well...that's another story entirely.

"I saw Next to Normal in New York City two years ago and was just blown away," says PTC Artistic Director Charles Morey. "The audience was a surprising mix of young people along with more traditional theatregoers, and everyone was openly weeping at the end. Next to Normal is a show that affects people like nothing I've seen on Broadway in years."

The principal cast is comprised of JUDY MCCLANE as Diane, Jonathan Rayson as Dan, Ephie Aardema as Natalie, MATT DANGLER as Gabe, Alex Brightman as Henry, and Ben Crawford in the roles of Dr. Fine and Dr. Madden.

On hiatus from playing Tanya in Broadway's Mamma Mia, JUDY MCCLANE's other Broadway credits include Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Aspects of Love, and Chess. Her national and international tours include Into the Woods, Big, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She also received critical acclaim for her performance as Vienna in the musical Johnny Guitar (Drama Desk Award Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical) and can be heard on the cast recording for that show. This is her PTC debut.

Jonathan Rayson plays Diana's husband Dan. His Broadway roles include Little Shop of Horrors (Seymour) and A Year with Frog and Toad. His national tour roles include Little Shop of Horrors (Seymour) and Legally Blonde (Aaron, Emmet understudy).

Ephie Aardema as the over-achieving daughter Natalie makes her PTC debut. Her national tours include Fiddler on the Roof (Chava) and The Sound of Music (Liesl).

Ben Crawford plays the roles of Drs. Fines and Madden. His Broadway credits include Les Misèrables (Javert/Valjean understudy) as well as Shrek in Shrek the Musical. This is his PTC debut.
Matt Dengler plays Gabe, the son with a secret. His roles on Broadway include A Little Night Music (Henrik us/swing). Dengler made his Carnegie Hall debut this spring as a soloist honoring Bob Hope.

Playing the daughter's suitor Henry is Alex Brightman. He has spent the last two years as Boq on Broadway's Wicked. This is his PTC debut. Other Broadway credits include Glory Days.

Karen Azenberg opens PTC's season directing and choreographing this production, soon after directing last season's closing musical RENT. In New York City, Azenberg directed Blocks (an early work by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Jonathan Larson), as well as The Soup Comes Last by Rachel Lampert at 59E59 Theatre, among others. Azenberg is current president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Larry Goldberg returns to PTC to music direct and conduct the production. He previously music directed PTC's productions of My Fair Lady and The Producers. Goldberg was most recently on Broadway, as conductor, in: How to Succeed in Business (with Daniel Radcliffe), The Drowsy Chaperone, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Phantom of the Opera, and Carousel; and as keyboardist in: Anything Goes, Young Frankenstein, Guys and Dolls, and Gypsy. His national tours include musical direction for South Pacific, The Producers, LES MISERABLES, Sunset Boulevard and Cats.

Assisting the Director is SDC Observer Neal Kowalsky. Kowalsky recently co-directed Thieves, a Native American play, at The Public Theater. He has worked at The Mac-Haydn Theatre as a Stage Manager and Assistant Director, and The Papermill Theatre as Children's Theatre Artistic Director.

Scenic design is by PTC resident set designer George Maxwell, who most recently designed last season's RENT. Favorite PTC designs include Chicago, LES MISERABLES, Metamorphoses, Enchanted April, The Importance of Being Earnest, West Side Story, Proof, Peter Pan, Noises Off, Man of La Mancha, Ain't Misbehavin', The Foreigner, and Miss Saigon. George is a member of United Scenic Artists.

CAROL WELLS-DAY, costume designer, is one of PTC's resident costume designers and the costume shop supervisor. Her recent designs for PTC include Sunset Boulevard, Black Comedy, Dracula, Sunset Boulevard, Black Comedy, Dracula, Twelve Angry Men, Is He Dead?, Dial M for Murder and more. She was assistant designer for Inherit the Wind at the Ford Theatre in Washington D.C. and worked for the Utah Shakespearean Festival for 13 years as a costume shop supervisor and designer.

Lighting design is by guest designer Michael Gilliam. Gilliam returns to PTC after designing for last season's RENT, and previously A Chorus Line and Romeo & Juliet. His Broadway credits include Brooklyn, Big River and Stand-Up Tragedy. He also designed for the national tours of Brooklyn, Guys and Dolls and Big River.

Hair and makeup design (including wigs) is by PTC resident designer AMANDA FRENCH; sound design is by PTC resident designer MATTHEW TIBBS.

Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah's premier resident professional theatre, performs at Roy W. and Elizabeth E. Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, located on the University of Utah campus at 300 South and 1400 East in Salt Lake City, easily accessible by TRAX light rail. Free parking is also available and the theatre is equipped with an elevator, handicap parking, hearing assistance devices and other easy-access features.

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