After what appears to have been a successful run at the Arena Stage, the new musical Next to Normal is now Broadway bound. The entire Arena Stage cast -- including Alice Ripley, J. Robert Spencer, and Aaron Tveit -- will make the transfer to New York, where the show will play the Longacre Theater, recently vacated by Boeing-Boeing.
The producers have announced an unusual move: they will close off the Longacre balcony, reducing the number of potential audience members from 1,100 to 820. This is apparently to provide more intimacy for the six-character musical.
Regular readers will recall that I had problems with both the message and the execution of Next to Normal when I saw it at the Second Stage. (Read my review.) Librettist Brian Yorkey continues to contact me about my review and my subsequent postings about his show. I have no intention of responding to his mean-spirited emails, nor any interest in getting into a pissing contest. Although you'd think that someone who has a show about to open on Broadway would be a little more careful in his treatment of potential influencers. I'm no Michael Riedel, but I do have a decent number of readers, and many of them are influencers in their own right.
But, believe it or not, I do plan on taking in the show again when it comes to Broadway, and I encourage my readers to see the show as well, to form their own opinions. I hear there have been considerable changes to the show since its Off-Broadway run, and if I can give Billy Elliot and In the Heights a second chance, I can do no less for Next to Normal. But, if I have the same problems with the show that I had before (e.g. an inconstant tone, a preponderance of clichés, and a message that includes an apparent repudiation of psychiatry), I certainly reserve my right to make those opinions known.