Next to Normal

Premiére date3 Sep. 2010
Produced byThe Norwegian Theatre
Based onNext to Normal by Tom Kitt, Brian Yorkey, Odd W. Surén
AudienceAdults
Audience size52957
Number of events90
LanguageNorwegian Nynorsk
ExpressionsMusical, Drama, Theatre
Running period3 Sep. 2010  

About Next to Normal

Next to Normal was a musical theatre production by The Norwegian Theatre, produced in 2010, based on the musical by Tom Kitts (music) and Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics).

Svein Sturla Hungnes directed it.

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    Press review

    Mona Levin, Aftenposten, date unknown:
    "In danger of repeating myself: Heidi Gjermundsen Broch makes her most complete role until now, unfeigned, vulnerable, confused and yet strong, and with a voice continuing to develop in range and expression. From shut-in rage and disturbingly withheld crying to canyon-deep, bleeding longing, from self-deprecation to wondering, it is all crystal clear through her voice, without her losing as much as a syllable. (...) Whereas experimental opera is never fully a hit, all doors open to the modern musical. It calls for the audience's emotions and sympathy, laughter and crying, and insight into the self."

    Lillian Bikset, Dagbladet, Brutalt god (literally: Brutally good), 05.09.2010:
    "Next to Normal won this year's Pulitzer Prize for drama. Only seven musicals have done the same before it, and none has been as important as this. Rarely do we see so powerful theatre texts, with or without music. The accompanying notes room as many emotions and nuances as the text. At times the music expands the characters' emotional perspectives. At times it gives the audience breaks to breathe freer than we could have done, if the piece had been performed as a purely textual drama. That way we are able to reflect upon the strength in what we see. Next to Normal is no feelgood musical. That is exactly why it feels good to see."

    Yngve Kvistad, VG, Unormalt knallbra musikal (literally: Abnormally incredibly good musical), 05.09.2010:

    "The musical is sensationally good to begin with, and that helps, but even a Pulitzer winner needs good people. The Norwegian Theatre has all the best ones in their midst. So go now to see this performance, also to experience Heidi Gjermundsen Broch climb to the very top of Norway's musical throne. Elaine Paige, watch your step! (…) Her honest and dignified portrait of the labile Diana is something of the most beautiful I have experienced within this genre."

    Torkil Baden, NRK, Musikalsk elektrosjokk (literally: Musical electro shock), 04.09.2010:
    "There is tempo and high temperatures from the first scene with its parody of a hysterically successful family. But then the cracks in the existence grow larger, and larger. The storytelling is episodic, but all the time with an intense drive to it. Six persons onstage and seven musicians in a gallery above the stage tie a tight production together, directed by Svein Sturla Hungnes. In the centre stands Heidi Gjermundsen Broch as the unstable mother who has to say yes or no to electric shocks and medication. After many leading roles in musical theatre the past few years she is victorious this time too, with strong stage presence and beautiful vocal performances."
    Idalou Larsen, Klassekampen, date unknown:
    "It is amazing that a so serious, overall and eternally contemporary issue can be discussed in musical form, and become good, thought-provoking and credible theatre. I am not the right person to evaluate the music, but I can certainly say that it follows the persons sensitively and precisely, that it establishes them as characters and expand on their development, without ever steeping down to easy sentimentality… The ensemble impresses. In Heidi Gjermundsen Broch's brilliant interpretation song and acting melt together and her Diana convinces with her madness as well as her endless vulnerability."

    More about Next to Normal

    At the webpage of The Norwegian Theatre the following, among other things, is written about Next to Normal:

    "Next to Normal is a new type of pop musical, moving with its strong stories cut directly from modern family life. The music has drive and is captivating, the lines are quick and the many great songs drive the plot, the emotions and the confrontations. Here are lies, substance abuse and the flight from reality. The result is a meaningful, contemporary and powerful musical in which the stories make a deep impression on the audience.

    We follow the apparently ordinary suburban family with conflicts between generations and modern tiredness from the lifestyles led. Diana, the main character of the piece, a housewife midway into her life, sits up waiting for the 18 year old son Gabe, who comes home way too late. Her daughter Natalie needs comfort and her husband Dan needs sex. To find herself Diana lets go of those she loves, her husband and the illusions she has woven herself into. This way Next to Normal also becomes a modern story of liberation."

    Heidi Gjermundsen Broch won The Hedda Award 2011, in the best leading actress category, as well as Norwegian Critics' Award for theatre in 2010/2011, for the role of Diana.

    The Hedda jury gave the following reason:

    "No more than eleven years have passed since the winner of the year completed a diverse five-year long education, but she has already been in near 20 productions, and in a vast majority of these she has even played the main part!

    As an actress her great strength is extraordinary versatility: She shines in her interpretations of classics such as William Shakespeare and contemporary playwrights such as Jon Fosse, while uniquely mastering a wholly different genre - musical theatre. The winner of the year has, through her captivating, nuanced and deeply human interpretation of the bipolar American housewife Diana in Next to Normal at The Norwegian Theatre, given definitive proof musical theatre can be great performing arts.

    Thus the award for best leading actress goes to Heidi Gjermundsen Broch."

    Lillian Bikset said the following, among other things, in her speech held on behalf of Norwegian Critics' Association during the awards ceremony for Norwegian Critics' Award September 29 2011:

    "There are times when the theatre gives a language to what lacks a language. When what is hard or impossible to express in daily life is given an expression of truth onstage. There are times performances stay in your mind for long after you have watched them, and the next time you are in need of the words, you find them. Because you have seen something you otherwise could have - or would have - chosen to look away from. The winner of this year's Critics' Award wins the award for such as role.

    (...)

    She is capable of renewing herself as an actress for every role she does. In her voice, in her mimicry and in her body language she has a remarkable range of expression. Her intelligence as a performer is high and she has the kind of psychological insight that makes her able to convey the complex. Heidi Gjermundsen Broch is an extraordinarily nuanced actress with great understanding for human diversity. It makes her characters seem real and credible"

    Read the speech in full (Norwegian only) here.

    Next to Normal also was nominated for The Hedda Award 2011 in the production of the year category.

    Sources:

    Sceneweb on The Hedda Award 2011, www.sceneweb.no, http://www.sceneweb.no/en/awarding/17943/The_Hedda_Award_2011-2011

    Sceneweb on Norwegian Critics'Award, www.sceneweb.no, http://www.sceneweb.no/en/awarding/17907/Norwegian_Critics%27_Award_20102011-2011

    The Norwegian Theatre, 12.02.2013, www.detnorsketeatret.no, http://www.detnorsketeatret.no/index.php?option=com_play&view=play&playid=3

    Norwegian Critics' Association, 29.09.2011, kritikerlaget.no, http://www.kritikerlaget.no/pages/nor/650-teaterkritikerprisen_til_heidi_gjermundsen_broch