Powerful musical connecting audiences

Published 12:30pm 21 May 2021

Powerful musical connecting audiences
Words by Jodie Powell

Redcliffe Musical Theatre’s latest production grapples with the themes of crisis and mental illness.

The award-winning Next To Normal is directed by Zac Crisan, who was behind last year’s sell-out Lord of the Flies.

“It’s quite exciting but scary because I’ve directed a play before, but never a musical,” Crisan said.

“It’s a bigger team, working alongside a musical director and a choreographer, making sure everything is spic and span, but sticking to my vision.”

Crisan said Next To Normal was set in America in the early 2000s and tells the story of a mum with bipolar depressive disorder dealing with her condition and its impact on her family.

Talented cast

Samara Marinelli takes the lead role of Diana Goodman, with Nathaniel Currie in the role of her husband, Dan Goodman.

“Samara is the best of the best – she’s a very talented dinger and she’s a music teacher,” Crisin said.

He said the production dealt with challenging subjects such as suicide and drug abuse, but there were also come funny and uplifting moments.

“I chose Next to Normal because it’s a musical I have fallen in love with.

Filling a need for connection

“There were lots of dark themes in Lord of the Flies and Next To Normal is also dark.”

Redcliffe Musical Theatre president Madeleine Johns said while Next to Normal had its Broadway debut in 2009, its themes of mental health and our need for connection seemed even more relevant in 2021.

“Despite some of the darkness of the story, the musical ultimately offers us hope and light – two things we need more than ever today.”

Next to Normal is at Theatre for eight performances from May 21-30.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 concession. Click here to book.

Read more local news here.

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