Last Thursday we were invited to the press call for the latest production of Next to Normal. Its return was highly anticipated, since the initial run at the Donmar Warehouse was completely sold out, even before it opened. The show is now running at Wyndham's Theatre in London's West End.

Find out more about this brilliant, mind blowing exploration of family, mental health and grief.

1. Eleanor Worthington-Cox and Jack Wolfe: These two talented actors bear an uncanny resemblance to Caissie Levy’s children in real life! Part of what makes this production so special is seeing the dynamic built between the members of the cast on stage, making it feel as though they are really a family.

2. Next to Normal was conceived as part of an workshop 26 years ago: It’s incredible how this powerful musical has evolved over time and found its way to the West End.

3. Supported by Applause for Thought: The show is backed by the organization “Applause for Thought,” which recognizes its impact and significance. Mental health themes resonate deeply, and this support ensures the production reaches a wider audience. Applause for Thought is an organisation that aims to “to create safe, empowering and empathetic spaces for all within the arts, whether that be through links to 121 support, (…) talks or workshops, (…) accredited mental health training courses” amongst many other invaluable services. You can find out more about them here.

4. Darker Versions of the Ending: There were even darker versions of the ending. The creative team explored different possibilities before settling on the final emotional punch that leaves audiences reflecting long after the curtain falls.

5. Jonathan Larsson Foundation Grant: When “Next to Normal” lay dormant for a few years, the Jonathan Larson Foundation stepped in with a grant which allowed the creators to put on a workshop. Their support helped revive this remarkable show and take it all the way to Broadway.

6. Tom Kitt’s Emotional Reaction
: Composer Tom Kitt was moved to tears during the first preview of the London run. His emotional connection to the material speaks volumes about the show’s impact.

7. Director’s Background: The former artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse, Michael Longhurst, helmed this production as well as its previous run at the Donmar itself.

8. Michael or Caissie: Caroline or Change & Next to Normal: Director Michael Longhurst was working with Caissie Levy in Caroline or Change in Broadway when he received the news that he had been granted the rights to bring the production to London. He immediately thought of Caissie for Diana, and sent her a DM which ultimately resulted in her leaving hundreds of audience members in tears with her brilliant performance.

9. Feeling Electric: Surprisingly, the musical had a different name before settling on “Next to Normal.” Feeling Electric was the title of the 10 minute sketch Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey put together for the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.

10. Backwards Creative Process: Tom Kitt revealed that the creative process was a bit “backwards.” They started with the songs and then built the story around them. This unconventional approach resulted in a powerful and memorable production.

Next to Normal” continues to captivate audiences, shedding light on mental health, grief, and the quest for normalcy. Don’t miss this extraordinary journey at Wyndham’s Theatre. Book tickets here

Article by Luma

No comments