BY GEORGE J. DACRE
This Pulitzer Prize winner is the story of a suburban housewife who battles many mental issues possibly caused by the death of her infant son in an auto accident.
In some haunting scenes her issues are played out through visions of her son in his teens. Her family is forced to cope with her penchant for doing macabre things, including her depressed husband (whom she subconsciously blames for the accident) and her daughter, who steals her mom’s medications and turns to drugs.
The circumstances include psychoanalysis, shock therapy and family intervention, and it all plays out in a powerful rock-opera that has taken “Next To Normal” to all corners of the globe and focused attention on mental illness. It also at one time featured Adam Chanler Berat, a graduate of Clarkstown High School, in the Broadway production that won three Tony awards.
Elmwood Playhouse assembled an outstanding cast to do this show, which is intricate and requires extraordinary vocal abilities. Producers Robin Phillips and Marissa Abreu recruited classically trained vocalist Miran Roberts to play Diana, the mother, Rich Goldstein as the husband, Dan Coleman Cummings as Gabe, the deceased son, Katie Sondermeyer as Natalie, the daughter and Alex Martinez as Natalie’s boyfriend.
All are splendid in this show, directed by Debra Lee Failla, with Tony Bellomy as musical director, on stage, rear. This one of Elmwood Playhouse’s most stellar productions and I rate it Four Stars Out Of Four. It is really worth seeing and sends a message that somehow there is always “light.”
Catch it weekends at Elmwoodplayhouse. Information: 845-353-1313 or elmwoodplayhouse.com.