PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: "There Will Be Light!" Backstage at the Arden's Video-Enhanced Next to Normal
By Matthew Blank
Brian Hissong, who plays the Doctor roles in the Arden Theatre Company's video-enhanced production of Next to Normal, takes Playbill.com readers through tech rehearsal and into opening night at the Philly venue.
"When starting the process, the cast was asked if there was any way we'd like to contribute to getting the word out there," said Hissong. "As I have recently opened a production company, I figured I'd help out as much as possible! Enjoy checking out the 'show behind the show!' It's been such an incredible journey!"
Performances of the dark rock musical about a family shaken by the mental illness of its matriarch play Arden's F. Otto Haas Stage to Nov. 4. Previews began Sept. 27. Next to Normal has book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt. In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, they took home the 2009 Tony for Best Score. Kitt and Michael Starobin won the Tony for Orchestrations. Alice Ripley, playing frazzled, broken Diana Goodman, won the Tony as Best Actress in a Musical.
The Arden cast includes Kristine Fraelich (Sunday in the Park with George and Baby Case at the Arden, The Civil War on Broadway) as Diana, Hissong (Sunday in the Park with George; Winesburg, OH), Barrymore Award winner Michael Doherty as Henry, Barrymore Award winner Rachel Camp as daughter Natalie, James Barry (Broadway's Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) as father Dan Goodman and Robert Hager (Broadway's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Bye Bye Birdie and Spring Awakening) as son Gabe Goodman.
This new take on the material is conceived by Arden artistic director Terrence J. Nolen and designer Jorge Cousineau, the duo behind the Arden's uniquely visual Sunday in the Park with George in 2010.
The Next to Normal creative team includes choreographer Niki Cousineau, costume designer Alison Roberts, Barrymore Award-winning lighting designer Thom Weaver, sound designer Daniel Perelstein and music director Eric Ebbenga, leading an onstage band of five musicians.
For tickets, call the Arden Box Office at (215) 922-1122, order online at ardentheatre.org, or visit the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.
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