Check out this excerpt from article about our next production on mlive.com:
Actors’ Theatre production of ‘Next to Normal’ relies on small cast, strong lyrics
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — It’s not normal for a musical to win the Pulitzer Prize. But then who would expect a routine response to a musical named “Next to Normal?”
Since the Pulitzer Prize for Drama was established in 1918, only eight musicals have made the grade, including such stage triumphs as “South Pacific”(1950), “A Chorus Line” (1976), and “Rent” (1996.) Each of these shows dares to go beyond entertainment to take on issues.
“It has to be a good drama as well as an excellent musical,” said Fred Sebulske, who is directing “Next to Normal” at Actors’ Theatre.
But when “Next to Normal” won the prize in 2010, it was a double surprise. Not only is this a musical drama that dares to talk about mental illness, but unlike all other prize-winning musicals, the show doesn’t feature a huge cast.
“It’s surprising because it’s such a small piece,” Sebulske said. “It’s all on the shoulders of six characters.”
And even though the Broadway production was up against best musical winner “Billy Elliot” in the 2009 Tony Awards, “Next to Normal” managed to walk away with the award for best score. Composer Tom Kitt and lyricist Brian Yorkey have created a rock score with lots of texture, Sebulske said.