'Next to Normal' pre-show talks to engage and inspire

Public talks peek behind the scenes of the deeply moving musical "Next to Normal" and explore its representation of a family coping with mental illness

Faculty and students from the Department of Performing Arts and the Department of Human Service Studies will participate in the “Talks on the Steps” series of public lectures and demonstrations before performances ofNext to Normal,” a contemporary musical about the impact of mental illness on a suburban family. Each “Talk on the Steps” offers fascinating insight into the themes of the play or the creative process from a distinct point of view. Speakers will include:

4/23 at 7p.m.: Kurt Robinson, Assistant Professor of Music Theatre, will explore the production’s contemporary pop/rock musical score

4/24 at 7 p.m.: Dramaturg Allison Pichowicz will share her research on teenagers and mental illness

4/25 at 1:30 p.m.: Assistant Director Zachary Teague and Assistant Choreographer Ruby Gibbs will take you behind the scenes in a discussion of the rehearsal process

4/25 at 7 p.m.: Bud Warner, Associate Professor of Human Service Studies, will draw on his social work experience to discuss the script’s representation of a family in crisis

4/26 at 1:30 p.m.: Dramaturg Hayley Owen will present her research on the script’s exploration of mental health issues and treatments

4/27 at 7 p.m.: Phil Miller, Lecturer in Human Service Studies, will share his knowledge of family counseling related to the context of “Next to Normal”

Next to Normal” by Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics) and Tom Kitt (music), directed and choreographed by Linda Sabo with musical direction by Rick Church, is a moving and dramatic tale of an ordinary  family struggling to thrive under the shadow of mental illness.

Talks take place in the Roberts Studio Theatre lobby at Scott Studios. Talks are free and open to the public, and last 10 minutes.