"Next to Normal" atthe Black Box Theatre -- August 9 through 18.

Thursday, August 9, through Saturday, August 18

The Black Box Theatre, 1623 Fifth Avenue, Moline IL

Winner of three 2009 Tony Awards and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the wildly acclaimed Broadway hit Next to Normal receives its debut staging at Moline's Black Box Theatre August 9 through 18, the New York Times raving that this pop/rock musical “throbs with an emotional intensity” and “is steeped in an inescapable, aching compassion for people crippled by pain.”

With its book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt, the musical heartbreaker Next to Normal explores how one suburban household copes with crisis and mental illnes. The production finds Dan, the father of the Goodman family, an architect, while mother Diana rushes to pack lunches and pour cereal. Their daughter Natalie and son Gabe are both bright, wisecracking teens, and together, the Goodmans appear to be a typical American family. Yet as we come to discover, their lives are anything but normal, because Diana has been battling bi-polar disorder for 16 years. As the musical explores Diana's conflicted mental state and the effect it has on those who love her, Next to Normal pulls audiences into the minds and hearts of each character, presenting the Goodmans' story with love, sympathy, and heart that, according to the Chicago Tribune, “hits the target with empathy and surprising wit.”

Directing Next to Normal is Black Box Theatre veteran Kyle Schneider, who served as the venue's music director for such presentations as Baby, Rock of Ages, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Schneider's music director is Randin Turner, who served in that capacity for the Black Box's You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Quad City Music Guild's A Christmas Survival Guide. And Next to Normal's six-person cast is composed of the Black Box's co-founder David Miller as Dan, Shana Kulhavy as Diana, Olivia Lyman as Natalie, and Joe Lasher as Gabe, with Anania Williams playing Natalie's boyfriend Henry and Zach Hendershott portraying Diana's doctors.

Next to Normal runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., admission is $16, and more information and tickets are available by calling (563)284-2350 or visiting TheBlackBoxTheatre.com.

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