Next to Normal | PrivateBank Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Next to Normal Closing (Theater and Galleries) New Review (Theater and Comedy) Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through May 8 2011

The man sitting next to me was having conniptions--crying, sighing, laughing by quick turns and sometimes all at once. But as hard as he made it to watch the final scenes of this Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, I completely understood what he was going through. Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's tale of a severely traumatized middle-class family invites empathy in a hundred different ways. Though Diane, the housewife at the center of the piece, is well beyond normal when it comes to psychosis and the meds she uses to keep it under provisional control, the essence of her situation ought to be painfully, amusingly familiar to anybody who's been a parent or child. And the often anthem-like songs only intensify that sense of connection. Unlike most touring productions, this one is led by actors who performed the material on Broadway. That's mostly a good thing, but Alice Ripley's eccentric approach to Diane can be as distracting as the guy who sat next to me. Her odd singing style and pronunciations made me wonder if she wasn't trying to play the long-term effect of all those meds. --Tony Adler

Price: $37-$125

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