Friday, January 29, 2010

New York: Day 3, Part 2: Next To Normal

So my original plan for this evening was to see a show then do the Empire State Building by night. It's just too cold and I'm just too tired to do that tonight... Anyway...

While browsing the TKTS board Next To Normal was the only show I had heard next to nothing about but the premise sounded interesting. In short, it's about a bipolar mother who sees her dead son, and a generally dysfunctional family.

The show received a nearly unanimous standing ovation (at least on the orchestra level), the first I've seen in any New York show [even Phantom only received a few scattered standees]. While enjoyable-with-a-message, the show seemed a bit uneven as far as energy, pacing, and volume go; given the content of the show I'm willing to write that off as intentional.

The program lacks any synopsis, list of musical numbers, or similar information (in fact, the lone hint that one is given about the structure of the production is There Will Be One 15 Minute Intermission) so while I can say I enjoyed most of the music, without having samples to listen to I can't tell you what specific pieces they were.

The casting was a bit suspicious: I could not believe that Gabe (Kyle Dean Massey) was young enough to be Dan's (J. Robert Spencer) son, although in Act II, I noticed a hint of gray hair which at least made it easier to tell who was who. Likewise, I sensed absolutely no chemistry between Natalie (Jennifer Damiano) and Henry (Adam Chanler-Berat).

Overall, though, well worth the evening.


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