Photo by Don Kellogg

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Next to Normal

Let me be perfectly clear. Run. Don't Walk to Second Stage Theater on 43rd and 8th Avenue. Next to Normal is a musical tour de force. More relevant than Spring Awakening; As daring, moving and poignant as Rent; more hopeful than August: Osage County.

Brian D'Arcy James usually headlines a show. Well in this ensemble cast, each actor is of equally amazing vocal prowess and raw story telling talent. Alice Ripley, Asa Somers, Jennifer Damiano, Aaron Tveit, and Adam Chanler-Berat bring you to tears one moment and to your feet in raucous applause the next.

This rock musical written by Tom Kitt (Music) of High Fidelity fame and Brian Yorkey (Librettist/Lyricist) will knock your socks off. Director Michael Greif (Grey Gardens, Rent) brilliantly consumes every inch of the 3 story set to keep the story alive (and the actors running).
Vocally, this show opens up full-out and doesn't look back for one minute. One of my favorites (if there could be just one) is Aaron Tveit (the gorgeous blonde boy the the kickin' bod) who all but brings down the house right from the start. Then about 20 minutes into the show, a left hook is delivered right to the head. And the blows keep coming non-stop, scene after scene. This is a show about real life, real life problems, and real families enduring, and sucumbing to those problems and possibly inevitably passing some of them on to the next generation.

I'm not going to give away one ounce of the emotional pounding you will take during this show.

Get a ticket. Go. Now.