Friday, May 24, 2024

“Next To Normal” should be Next on your Weekend Plans!

This powerful musical plays for one more weekend at the Coronado Playhouse. "Next to Normal" runs through June 17.

Next To Normal at the Coronado Playhouse is an incredible musical. I was not prepared for how amazing this production would be – my only regret is that I did not review it sooner!

Filled with emotion, superb talent, and powerful messages, Next To Normal wows guests as part of the Coronado Playhouse’s 2018 Season, A Family Affair. This musical provides two hours of escape to examine a suburban family’s despair and love in a thoughtful, witty, sensitive and important delivery.

Next to Normal
From left to right: SeeJay Lewis (Gabe), Rebekah Rawhouser (Diana) and Anthony Donovan (Dan). Photo by Ken Jacques.
In short, it is about a mother battling bi-polar disorder in the aftermath of heartbreak. It examines the steps to rebuild an individual and a family, diving in and out of complications tested by various coping strategies and revealing the hard truths such mood disorders may bring to a family unit.

In an effort to support awareness for those living in San Diego County with mood disorders, the Playhouse partnered with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of San Diego during the run of this production. It is a priority of the Coronado Playhouse to give back to the community by using their public platform to help those in need.

Rebekah Rawhouser (Diana) and Connor Boyd (Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden). Photo by Ken Jacques.

The musical takes place mostly between a family home, a high school, and a medical office. It does contain adult language, but the words complement the show rather than detract from it.

There are seven characters in the play: A husband and wife (Dan and Diana), their daughter (Natalie), her boyfriend (Henry), two doctors (Dr. Fine and Dr. Madden), and a son (Gabe). They were funny, touching, sensitive, familiar, and honest. The audience laughed throughout the musical, and more than once, wept. I heard plenty of hushed sniffles, especially near the end of the show. Next To Normal was very well-done, but I especially loved the music and the complex character development.

Next to Normal
Chloe Marcotte (Natalie) and Peter Armado (Henry). Photo by Ken Jacques.

The playhouse itself is unique in its set-up and ambiance. Guests sit at round tables of four, in an intimate, 100-seat cabaret-style theater. There is a nice snack booth where you can purchase beverages and treats for a reasonable price. In this production, the musical performers sat on stage, just behind the main set and the actors, and they were fantastic, as well. The lyrics and music from Next To Normal were fun, raw, and masterfully done to evoke the right kind of emotion that each scene called for.

Next to Normal
Rebekah Rawhouser as Diana. Photo by Ken Jacques.

The score, by Tom Kitt (If/Then, American Idiot, Freaky Friday), received three Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The New York Times has called it “much more than a feel-good musical; it is a feel-everything musical.”

Coronado Playhouse is the longest continuously run community theatre in San Diego County, currently in its 72nd Season. Season ticket holders can reserve tables a year in advance for each show.
Coronado Playhouse Box Office: (619) 435-4856; [email protected]
WHEN: May 25-June 17, 2018
TIMES: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm & Sundays 2pm
TICKETS: $20-$27 (Active Duty Military, Student and Senior discounts. Group rates available.)
WHERE: Coronado Playhouse, 1835 Strand Way, Coronado, CA 92118
WHO:  Music by Tom Kitt; Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey; Directed by Chad Oakley; Music Direction by Martín Martiarena; Produced by Jennifer McKenna; Associate Producer is Anthony Zelig
Featuring: Rebekah Rawhouser (Diana), Anthony Donovan (Dan), Chloe Marcotte (Natalie), SeeJay Lewis (Gabe), Peter Armado (Henry) and Connor Boyd (Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden)
Design & Additional Creative Team: Jacob Sampson (Set Designer), Sarah Robinson (Costume Designer & Assistant Director), Anthony Zelig (Lighting Designer), Michael Cook (Sound Designer), Mike McCullock (Projections Designer), Kathy Parks (Stage Manager)

Rebecca Sather
Rebecca Sather
A graduate of the University of Oregon's Journalism School, Rebecca lived in New York City and Seattle prior to moving back to southern California. She's worked for Condé Nast, Time Inc., and other local publications. Rebecca enjoys riding her purple beach cruiser, creating self-guided taco tours, traveling, reading and subsequently drinking wine with her book club, cooking, decorating and entertaining.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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