The Resident Theatre Company has brought its award-winning, contemporary rock musical “Next to Normal” to audiences in West Chester, writes Julia Klein for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The play is a brilliant take on family, the endurance and limits of love, and mental illness that makes for a deeply moving evening of theater.
The acclaimed drama is about a family whose lives are continuously affected by a bipolar mother named Diana. This production is an unusually sympathetic version in which all of the characters are trying their best to just make it through another day.
Composer Tom Kitt and lyricist and librettist Brian Yorkey have managed to depict the ravages of mental illness both unsparingly and poetically.
The lead role of Diana, whose official diagnosis is “bipolar depressive with delusional episodes,” is played wonderfully by Nikki Van Cassele. Similarly, Galen Murphy-Hoffman shines as father Dan, Chelsey Ristaino gives a wrenching performance as daughter Natalie, and Alex Kunz is poignant and energetic as her brother Gabe.
The musical will run at the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center in West Chester until Oct. 15.