Skip to main content

Idaho State University School of Performing Arts to perform rock musical “Next to Normal”

Students at Idaho State University will combine their talents in both music and theatre for the production of “Next to Normal” on Sept. 23, 24, 29, 30 and Oct. 1 in the Beverly B. Bistline Thrust Theatre in the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center.

Idaho State University School of Performing Arts to perform rock musical “Next to Normal”

Students at Idaho State University will combine their talents in both music and theatre for the production of “Next to Normal” on Sept. 23, 24, 29, 30 and Oct. 1 in the Beverly B. Bistline Thrust Theatre in the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center.

“Next to Normal,” with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt, explores how one suburban household copes with severe mental illness. The play looks at how a mother's battle with manic depression affects the lives of her husband, son and daughter. The production explores dramatic material with an energetic pop/rock score while addressing grief, ethics in psychiatry and suburban life. The play won three Tony Awards in 2009 including the “Best Musical Score.” It was also chosen as "one of the year's ten best shows" by The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone and The New York Times. “Next to Normal” also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2010, which was only the eighth musical to ever win this award. 

“This piece is rich with emotion and while it challenges both the actors and the audience, it does so in a uniquely positive way – and with an incredible score,” said guest director Tony Clements. “I think we are all in this play, in one way or another: A teenage girl longing for attention, a father struggling to hold his family together, a mother dealing with the loss of a child, a boy pursuing the girl he is 'perfect' for.  I think our audiences will find 'Next to Normal' to be not only funny, moving, and cathartic, but also incredibly uplifting and life affirming."

Clements was brought to ISU through a grant from the F.M., Anne G., and Beverly B. Bistline Foundation. He is a freelance actor and director who lives in New York. He grew up in southeastern Wisconsin and was part of the Milwaukee theatre community for over 20 years. He has directed at the college, regional and professional level, including shows such as "Sunday in the Part with George," "Seussical" and "Urinetown," and most recently played Bill Austin in the Broadway company of "Mamma Mia!" He is the resident casting and stage director for "Disney on Classic," a four-month symphony concert tour of Japan.

            The performance also brings alumna Amy Edel as the guest lighting designer and guest stage designer Lex Gernon, a freelance designer based in Los Angeles. Gernon has transformed the stage in the Bisline Theatre in a way that has never been done before.

“‘Next to Normal’ is about a woman who is spinning out of control and is struggling from deep grief,” Gernon said. “We wanted to put that idea of spinning on the stage, and wanted to create a versatile space that actors could change, adjust and manipulate.”

The main cast includes ISU students Jenna Davies, Sean Grayson, Alisha Hunter, Levi Bruner, Tristan Berg and Tanner Morton. The cast also includes six understudies, Brayton Hunt, Jack Johnson, Alissa Shirts, Michael Fornarotto, Venus Galbranson and Philip Murphy.

“Next to Normal” will have five performances on Sept. 23, 24, 29, 30, and Oct. 1, in the Bistline Theatre at the Stephens Performing Arts Center. The play has intense moments and adult language and is not suitable for children.

Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for faculty and staff and seniors, $10 for children and $7 for ISU students. Tickets are available at the ISU box office at (208) 282-3595 and online at isu.edu/tickets. Doors will open at 7 p.m. with the performance beginning at 7:30 p.m.

IDAHO STATE UNIVERSITY

921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho, 83209

Discover opportunity at Idaho State University