Next To Normal

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Re: Next To Normal

Post  Admin on Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:23 pm

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Re: Next To Normal

Post  operafantomet on Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:21 pm

Next to Normal will play in Oslo through 2010, and return in October 2011 (with the original Oslo cast):

NEXT TO NORMAL - HOVUDSCENEN

REGI: Svein Sturla Hungnes
NYPREMIERE 8. OKTOBER

I ROLLENE: Heidi Gjermundsen Broch, Charlotte Frogner, Frank Kjosås, Lasse Kolsrud, Thomas Bye og Jon Bleiklie Devik.

http://www.detnorsketeatret.no/Default.aspx?Tabid=147&pid=308


On a side note, seeing "Long day's journey into night" by Eugene o'Neill made me realize how much "Next to Normal" has borrowed from that play. Or - first act of N2N is totally that play, second act is totally "A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen.

Which isn't a bad thing at all! N2N has borrowed from many, many sources, and in the end created something new, as one should. But it's interesting to see how much of classical theatre is "baked into" what reviewers sees as totally unique and brand new on Broadway. It's been done before, but N2N is the modern musical version.

As a side note I saw Liv Ullman as Mary Cavan Tyrone. She really IS fantastic.

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Re: Next To Normal

Post  operafantomet on Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:46 am

Saw "Next to Normal" again.... Fifth visit to the Oslo production. I love it SO much.

I've seen it more or less each month since it opened. And I found it interesting to see how the characters has developed. Gabe is now played more menacing than before, having a more evil grin at times, and looking utterly innocent a few seconds later. I like that change. For yesterday's performance the relationship between husband and wife was also more... I don't know if tender is the word, but maybe downscaled? Last performance I saw they were both very into the roles, aggressive at times, lots of emotions. They had a softer approach this time around, especially the husband. I like both versions, but interesting to see the difference.

Last time I sat in front row, all the way to the side. It was great for getting the nuances of the acting, but the sound was a bit muffled there. Not the best balance between cast and orchestra. Sitting in the middle of the auditorium is a much better experience, sound wise. Perfect balance between singers and instruments this time around. It enabled me to hear some of the lyrics I haven't understood previously, especially in the trios and quartets.

It struck me that I really, really dig the choreography of this production. It's super funky; surrealistic when it has to be, but also tender, funky and surprising. There's so many scenes that are heightened because people move in a cool or surprising way; scenes which would otherwise be just good, or awkward with the wrong choreography. Kudos!

And now I just can't get "My psychopharmacologist and I" out of my head... Or "Min kjære psykofarmasøyt og eg", as the Norwegian title is. I love how they sample Mozart, Sound of Music, Ibsen and whatnot in this musical.

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Re: Next To Normal

Post  Viscountess on Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:02 pm

That Gabe sounds fantastic! Very Aaron Tveit, unlike Kyle Dean Massey who we have over here. He seems to lack the evil oomf that Gabe needs.

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Re: Next To Normal

Post  operafantomet on Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:41 am

Viscountess wrote:That Gabe sounds fantastic! Very Aaron Tveit, unlike Kyle Dean Massey who we have over here. He seems to lack the evil oomf that Gabe needs.
Yeah, there need to be some twisted emotions going on. Gabe is a sort of angel of death or messenger of death (which his name no doubt is meant to reflect: the archangel Gabriel is often seen as the one initiating judgement day and the end of time). He's tormenting both his mother and his family on purpose. Not solely to be evil of course, as his presence and their reactions to him is the only way he can still live.

I loved that the Oslo Gabe (Frank Kjosås) conveyed this in the "I dreamed a dance/There's a world" too. In the most tender moments when his mother was utterly bewildered and distant, he would make the most evil grin, just for a moment, and maybe not meant for anyone to notice, before going back to being her tender "saviour" in their dream dance. It was creepy as hell. But in a good way. Smile

Speaking of which, the name Diana is also interesting. In Roman mythology Diana was linked to the moon, which was seen as having two "faces": the bright and dark side of the moon. Next to Normal's Diana also have this bright and dark side. I have no doubt the names are carefully picked!

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Re: Next To Normal

Post  operafantomet on Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:59 am

Next to Normal heading for Copenhagen, opening February 18, 2012:
http://www.nbt.dk/da-DK/Forestillinger/Next+to+Normal.aspx

And for Wermland Opera in Karlstad (Sweden), opening February 2, 2012:
http://www.wermlandopera.com/evenemang/next-to-normal

It already plays in Helsinki (Finland) and Oslo (Norway), so it's safe to say Scandinavia has embraced this musical!

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Re: Next To Normal

Post  phantomphan1992 on Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:23 am

Saw the regional production of this show in Dallas on Sunday (unfortunately the final performance... I don't think I would have had trouble convincing my parents to go again), and despite all of the negativity about the cast and the production itself that I heard going around, I actually thought it was quite brilliant. No, it wasn't the Broadway production or even the tour, but I was well aware of that going in to the theatre, so I wasn't expecting Alice Ripley and Aaron Tveit. And what I ended up experiencing was the story and the music, without the expectations that come with seeing a performer with whom I was already familiar.

It was a damn good performance from the whole cast. In fact, I think the actor who played Gabe was even better than what I've seen and heard of Tveit and Massey. He had the same creepiness Tveit was so good at conveying, while still maintaining the vulnerability of a child. Beautifully heart-breaking, with stunning vocals. The actress who played Diana had much better vocals than Ripley, and I think acting to rival her as well. The rest of the cast was amazing as well, though the only other character who stood out to me was Henry, and I'm not sure if that was due to his performance or the fact that the actor was the only actor I've ever known to introduce himself at the stage door and ask for my name in return.

And not to sound like a teenage girl (though thats exactly what I am), but Gabe was extremely good-looking, and he hugged me at the stage door after I told him he was better than Aaron Tveit and Kyle Dean Massey. I have photographic proof. Razz

(Last time I type up a post of this length on my iPhone...)

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Re: Next To Normal

Post  operafantomet on Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:04 am

Interesting! I saw a clip of this production on N2N's FB site, and I actually thought it looked impressive. And I agree with you, the Ripley/Tveit hype is not healthy for the show, as people come to experience them and not the show. Which is a pity, as I think it's the show itself who is the real star, with a strong libretto and lots of awesome music. "Hold me, I'm falling" always sends chills down my spine.

Then again, I know how much a truly good performer can lift this show, and how much a meeh one can drag it down, so I understand people wanting people they know is fantastic.

Thank you for the review (and even on your phone!).

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Re: Next To Normal

Post  operafantomet on Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:42 pm

Just saw the re-premiere of "Next to Normal" at Det Norste Teatret in Oslo.

Hmmm... rusky vocals in first act. I heard they only had one full run-through (the dress rehearsal) this time around. But I felt it showed. Whereas the ensemble numbers were tight and precise last season, even at the opening night, it was a bit "bouncy" in the first act tonight. Not for the solo songs, but for the ensemble numbers. It improved greatly in the second act, which made me feel one more rehearsal before opening night would have made all the difference.

That said, it was a splendid performance. I haven't heard so much sobbing since Princess Diana's funeral. Oh yeah, I had a tear or two as well. I just tried to hide it more than those around me... Smile They were bawling in the second act. Which made me happy, cause this production is top notch, and I'm glad to see I'm not the only one getting a kick out of it.

Heidi Gjermundsen Broch is still a spectacular Diana. She's waaay up there with Alice Ripley. The acts the role with every fiber of her body, and there's incredible nuances to her vocals. Frank Kjosås is also fantastically cast as Gabe. Unlike Aaron Tveit, Kjosås looks totally androgyne. He can convey a boyish teenager, the lover Diana never had, and even the baby he once were. And he switch between these modes, and between totally innocent looking and devilish, in a second. Plus, DA voice. I actually prefer him to Tveit.



The rest of the cast is also very much to my liking. And the orchestra! Small, but so effective, and so nuanced. I especially love the string section of the score. I've mentioned why I adore the set design and the choreography of the Oslo production in previous reviews, so I won't repeat that. Mostly I just wanna say I'm so FREAKIN' HAPPY the production is back, and that it's on such a high level. It's not just one of the best musicals I've seen in ages, but also one of the best productions. I'm almost dreading seeing the 2012 Copenhagen production early next year, in fear of it being less good. But it might be marvelous too. I mean, I didn't think the Oslo one could hold a candle to the original Broadway one, and boy was I wrong...

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Re: Next To Normal

Post  operafantomet on Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:49 pm

Yet another visit to Oslo's N2N.

I'm speechless. I have no idea what happened tonight. It was... I can't find the right words. It was theatre magic.

The vocals: flawless. The acting: intense. The orchestra: so rich and nuanced. And the interactions: best I've seen.

By the final scenes there were not one, not two, but THREE random people in the audience sobbing loudly. Like, at first I thought they were giggling. Turned out they just lost it and bawled their hearts out. And there were sobbing all around. And lots of grown up men "coughing" a lot.

This was theatre magic. And I can't put my finger on why, on what made the difference. But I think most in the audience felt it and reacted. There were immediate standing ovations too.

I love live theatre.

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Re: Next To Normal

Post  Porteña on Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:22 am

Saw the Argentinian Production of N2N last week, and I'll be back for sure!

Had great expectations, though I did my best to be away from spoilers (ok, I knew the first big revelation, but nothing else).
Great first act, full of hits...from the so-relatable "Everything Else" to "You Don't Know/I am the One", which brought the house down.
Second act is just pure awesomeness, where everything's at stake and there's no more time for denial.
I simply adored the cast, which features an inspired Diana (played by Laura Conforte, who was Maria Von Trapp last year... this made the rendition of "My favourite things" much more satyrical), a perfectly fragile Natalie and a great Gabe by newcomer Matias Mayer, who managed to be seductive but very scary at the same time. The relationship between Natalie and Diana was the most compelling of all, hopeless and with never-ending pain.

The set was pretty much like the one on Broadway, except for the projections. Still, the lightning was the perfect complement to the music and the story, adding intensity to some chilling moments.

That being said, I NEED to see this musical again! Fortunately is doing great, as they added another show every week.

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Re: Next To Normal

Post  operafantomet on Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:08 am

Porteña wrote:That being said, I NEED to see this musical again! Fortunately is doing great, as they added another show every week.
It's addictive. So addictive! I ended up seeing the Oslo production 11 times... Laughing

And how funny about Laura Conforte doing Sound of Music previously. Haha, I love that nod. How was the Argentine lyrics? I assume it was in Spanish. Were the lyrics well translated? I find that crucial.

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Re: Next To Normal

Post  Porteña on Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:14 pm

operafantomet wrote:

And how funny about Laura Conforte doing Sound of Music previously. Haha, I love that nod. How was the Argentine lyrics? I assume it was in Spanish. Were the lyrics well translated? I find that crucial.

Yes, they're in Spanish.

The best thing about the translation is that it felt... effortless. Everything made sense, and nothing was forced into a sentence.
But having no actual knowledge of any song (except for two of three from Act One), I can't really know if they are accurate.

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