Department of Theatre Presents the Dark Comedy Next to Normal

Fine Arts,

The Lake Erie College Department of Theatre and LytHouse will present the popular dark comedy “Next to Normal” throughout the month of December. This rock musical follows a heavy though thoughtful and endearing story of a family as they endure the struggles of a life that is something next to normal. The show will be directed by Joe Fath and produced by Professor of Theatre Dr. Jerry Jaffe. The performances will take place December 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. with three matinees December 15, 22 and 29 at 2 p.m. All performances take place in the C.K. Rickel Theatre in the Fine Arts Building.

Under the direction of alumnus, Joe Fath ‘11 and featuring music directed by adjunct faculty Lauren Feola ‘03 and her husband Dr. Francesco Binda, “Next to Normal,” has book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt. The musical explores how one suburban household copes with crisis and mental illness. It deals with real-life issues and shares a story that speaks to audience members through love, sympathy, and heart with a large helping of dark comedy.

“Next to Normal” follows a mother (Abby Kosch) who has a history of battling manic depression, assisted by doctors portrayed by James Mango. Her husband (Tom Greene) would do anything to help his family. Their family also includes a daughter, portrayed by LEC alumna Kate Greene ’18, her boyfriend (Ethan Peterson) and their son, played by LEC student Cameron Zona ’22.

 “I’ve loved Next to Normal for nearly eight years,” Kate Greene shares. “A gorgeous music score, with an important story to tell—blended with wholesome characters and holistic emotions, makes for a relatable and authentic experience. I hope the combination of this show’s elements encourages the audience to explore how we, as a society, experience our own emotions.” 

Though it’s not a typical holiday offering, director Joe Fath describes the musical as important and relevant. Holiday-themed refreshments are available during intermission, and audience members are invited to participate in talkbacks with the cast and crew following select performances.

“Next to Normal offers an important insight into mental health,” Cameron Zona explains. “That reminds us of a vital resource that empowers love and appreciation—hope.” 

Next to Normal is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). Presale tickets are available until Thursday, December 12 for $15. Tickets at the door are $18, with one special buy one get one free day on Thursday, December 19. Tickets can be reserved at any time by calling 330.567.2471 or visiting the box office at Lake Erie College at 391 W. Washington St. Painesville, Ohio 44077 in the Royce Hall for the Fine and Performing Arts. For more information, contact Lake Erie College’s Theatre office at 440.375.7451.

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