Rock Musical Next to Normal Runs July 21 through 30
By Josh Lapping
The musical Next to Normal opened on Broadway in 2009, earning 11 Tony Nominations and three awards, along with the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. This well-received and award winning musical is now coming to Greenbrier Valley Theatre for the first time. Next to Normal explores how one suburban family copes with mental health, the way it impacts their lives, and how they work to overcome the challenges that affect their ‘normal.’
The show stars GVT newcomers Evan Tyrone Martin, Xavier Reyes, Chloë Cheers, Jack Baugh, and Evan Buckley Harris. GVT favorite, Kim Morgan Dean, will return to play Diana Goodman, the protagonist struggling with her mental health.
Ben Liebert (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change) returns to Greenbrier Valley Theatre to direct the production, with Erika Gamez as music director conducting a six-piece band. Liebert knows the topics displayed on stage are issues that many will resonate with – whether personally or with someone they know.
“In addition to having a great score and being surprisingly funny, Next to Normal puts mental health at the forefront and shows it on such an intimate level. Mental health issues worldwide rose 13% from 2007 to 2017 and that was before the pandemic,” said Liebert. “Our job is to ask the audience to approach mental health with greater understanding and compassion, and to speak to those struggling right now and show that they’re not alone.”
The production will feature scenic design completed by Seth Howard, costume design by Sherry Harper-McCombs, and lighting design by E. Tonry Lathroum. Sound design is completed by Abigail Coppock, with prop design by Dani Rust.Richard Crowell serves as Production Manager, Elizabeth Salisch as Production Stage Manager, who will be assisted by Mallory Topel.
“No one hears ‘A musical about mental health’ and thinks ‘Yes, a good time’”, said Liebert. “But that’s the magic of this show: it’s funny, heartwarming, and challenging, all with really good music and a huge amount of heart.”
Now in its 56th season, Greenbrier Valley Theatre, is a mainstay and theatre destination located in Lewisburg, WV. The arts organization has been further recognized as a “West Virginia Jewel of the Hills,” awarded the Living the Dream Service Organization Honor Roll by The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, and is a multi-year recipient of Non-Profit Business of the Year. GVT boasts a robust series of year-round programing and educational offers with the goal to enlighten, enrich, and enliven throughout the region.
Next to Normal opens at GVT on July 21st and runs through the 30th. The show does include adult language, discussions of prescription drug use, and discussions of suicide and self-harm, so parental supervision is advised. Tickets are $32 for general seating, $29 for senior citizens age 60 and above, and $20 for students. For more information on tickets, shows, and the organization’s history, visit the theatre’s website: www.gvtheatre.org or call the box office at (304) 645-3838.