SJU Theater Company to Present “Next to Normal”

Monday, September 30, 2013

by Amanda Sapio '13

PHILADELPHIA (September 30, 2013) – The SJU Theatre Company will perform Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt’s Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Next to Normal this fall. The show opens Wednesday, October 2, at 8 p.m., in Bluett Theatre and runs through Sunday, October 6.

Next to Normal is a rock-based musical about a mother, Diana, who suffers from bipolar disorder. It explores the issues of medical ethics and the effect that mental illness has on a family. The production addresses difficulties such as grieving a loss, drug abuse and suicide. 

“We hope that presenting this powerful, emotional musical will shed light on the contemporary issues involving medical ethics and family dysfunction,” says Renee Dobson, M.F.A., artistic director of the Department of Music, Theatre and Film.

The musical opened on Broadway in 2009 and was nominated for 11 Tony Awards. It won Best Original Score, Best Orchestration and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical and received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, making it the eighth musical in history to achieve this.

The production features a total of 24 students, 12 in cast and 12 in crew. Gina Giachero, a professional music director in the Philadelphia area, is directing the music for this production. The scenic designer is Tom Bloom, Ph.D., associate professor of drama at the University of Virginia.

“We chose to present this musical to address various social issues and to challenge the musical theatre students with the difficult rock score that accompanies the story,” says Dobson.

Performances run Tuesday – Saturday, October 2, 3, 4, 5, at 8 p.m., with a matinee on Sunday, October 6 at 2 p.m., in the Bluett Theatre, Post Hall, on Overbrook Ave. near 56th Street. Tickets are $10 for students from any school, faculty and staff (showing proper identification) as well as senior citizens, and $18 for general admission. To reserve tickets, call 610-660-1181. For more information, or to order tickets online, visit the SJU Theatre Company’s website.


As Philadelphia's Jesuit, Catholic University, founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University provides a rigorous, student-centered education rooted in the liberal arts. SJU ranks as a top university in the Northeast, with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter in the College of Arts and Sciences and AACSB accreditation of the  Erivan K. Haub School of Business. The University is also deeply committed to the Jesuit tradition of scholarship and service, earning a place on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and the community engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. With courses offered on campus and online, SJU prepares its more than 8,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students to lead lives of personal excellence, professional success and engaged citizenship.


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