next to normal

Actors, from left, Rachel Duke, Zachary Coudriet, Amanda Braunns, Andrew Benson, Jason Valentine and Thomas Hibbert rehearse for their performance of next to normal at the Reitz Theatre in DuBois this month.

DuBOIS — The Reitz Theater’s first production of 2019 could change the way you feel about musicals, mental health, and life itself.

Jason Valentine directs next to normal, the acclaimed rock musical with music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey. With a cast of only six, the show is both dynamic and complex.

The Goodmans seem like a perfect family. Diana is either a little too happy or a little too sad as she struggles to keep her household running smoothly. Meanwhile, her husband, Dan, worries all the time. Her daughter, Natalie, seems awfully intent on getting that scholarship to Yale so she can leave home and her son, Gabe, is constantly fighting for his mother’s love.

A musical about the toll of mental illness on a family might seem odd, but next to normal, turned out to be one of Broadway’s biggest hits due to its heartbreaking, humorous, and unflinchingly realistic look at a family’s struggle with the effects of bipolar disorder.

“The emotions in this show are raw, the language is colorful, and the songs are bursting with energy,” director Jason Valentine said. “These elements create a unique theatrical experience that never loses its authenticity.”

The original 2009 Broadway production won three Tony awards as well as the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; it is one of only nine musicals to be honored with the latter recognition. It is a musical that is certain to entertain both veteran and contemporary theatre enthusiasts alike.

The cast includes Amanda Braunns as Diana Goodman, Jason Valentine as Dan Goodman, Rachel Duke as Natalie, Thomas Hibbert as Gabe, Zachary Coudriet as Henry, and Andrew Benson as Dr. Fine / Dr. Madden. The production team also includes Deb Kroft, Misti Bruner, and Joe Sensor.

Show dates are: February 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m., and February 10 at 2:00 p.m. Sign Language Interpretation will be provided on February 9 by Jenny Gordon. This show contains mature language and situations. next to normal is being sponsored by The Scizzor Zone and Hallstrom Construction. A special opening night gala to sample foods from The Gateway Cafe in DuBois will be provided when the box office opens at 6:30 p.m. on February 8.

Tickets for this show cost $15. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ReitzTheater.com, at Ace Hardware in DuBois, or by visiting the Reitz Theater Box Office which opens one hour prior to each show and is also open Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 4 p.m. –7 p.m. Please call ahead (814-375-4274) to make special arrangements for handicapped seating, including ideal placement for viewing the sign language interpretation during the Feb. 9 performance. The Reitz Theater is located at 36 East Scribner Avenue in DuBois.

next to normal. is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI, www.MTIShows.com

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