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.


Founded in 1851 in the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, Saint Joseph’s University is a top-ranked Catholic University that provides a rigorous, student-centered education. With a total enrollment of 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students, SJU offers a wide-array of academic programs designed so that each graduate enters the world with a competitive resume and global perspective. This is achieved through intense academic study led by thought-leading faculty scholars, a comprehensive campus experience and robust study abroad, service-learning, internship and co-op programs. Upon graduation, nearly 100 percent of students are employed, pursuing advanced degrees or volunteering in prestigious service programs. A member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, SJU offers 20 Division I intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports. SJU alumni – over 60,000 strong - provide a powerful network that spans the globe.

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