Monday, April 15, 2013

Next to Normal, Far from Ordinary

Capture 59This past Friday, I attended the opening night of Next to Normal at Contra Costa Civic Theater, or CCCT as it is affectionately and tongue-twisterly known as.   Next to Normal was absolutely phenomenal!

I was very excited about this show and I was not disappointed.  I first saw Next to Normal on Broadway in 2009 while visiting my friend in NYC over Christmas break, and I absolutely loved it.  It won 3 Tony’s that year.  CCCT’s version is just as good as the Broadway production; perhaps even better because of the far more intimate theater. 

The show tells the story of a manic-depressive woman and the effects her illness has on her life and her family.  The entire cast is only six people: mother, father, son, daughter, daughter’s boyfriend and mother’s psychiatrist.  It’s a very moving story with fabulous music and poignant lyrics.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the end.  I was full-on sobbing.

The cast and live band were excellent.  Everyone carried their part well and the voices worked beautifully together.  In fact, listening to the original cast recording, I’d prefer a soundtrack by the CCCT cast.   I was very pleased to see Nikita Burshteyn back at CCCT in the role of the daughter’s boyfriend.  He was the best singer in the theater’s last production, Children of Eden, and he has a very unique, attractive look.  The costuming and scenery were also well done.

The only thing that could be criticized was the sound.  There were a few glitches during some of the songs and some early balancing issues.  However, as it was opening night, these are things that will likely be fixed for the remainder of the production.

Next to Normal runs at CCCT in El Cerrito through May 5th.  I highly recommend it.  (I’ll probably be going back myself.)  Tickets are $28.50 and available here.


Alexis said...

Thanks so much for the kind words -- I'm a part of this production. Just couldn't help but make a tiny correction: the show runs until May 5th! Just don't want anyone that might want to attend to think we've closed! Thanks again! Cheers!!

goldenrail said...

Thank you, Alexis. I'll fix that.
Great show. Keep up the excellent work!