Critically Acclaimed Next to Normal Soars from Donmar Warehouse to West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre
The resounding success of the Donmar Warehouse production of the Broadway hit, Next to Normal, reverberates as it makes an eagerly awaited transfer to London’s West End at Wyndham’s Theatre, commencing performances on 18 June 2024 for a strictly limited 14-week season.
Next to Normal is not merely a musical; it’s an emotional odyssey that delves into the intricacies of family, illness, loss, and grief. This intimate exploration revolves around Diana Goodman, a suburban wife and mother navigating life with bipolar disorder while haunted by her past. The Donmar Warehouse’s Artistic Director, Michael Longhurst, directs this powerful rock musical that has proven to be both brave and breath-taking.
Originally debuting on Broadway in 2010, Next to Normal earned high praise from critics. Matt Wolf of The New York Times said: “As staged afresh in London under the astute eye of director Michael Longhurst, “Next to Normal” has a renewed sting. The result is transformative …there’s no more vital theatrical place to be.” The Washington Post’s Peter Marks hailed it as “a moving, blisteringly honest, and inordinately powerful new musical stocked with beautiful songs that get to the heart of the story – and simply get to the heart.” The musical went on to make history by winning three Tony Awards, including Best Original Score, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, joining an exclusive club of only 10 musicals to receive this prestigious honour.
Next to Normal is a poignant narrative that resonates deeply, addressing the complexities of mental health, grief, and the resilience of the human spirit. Michael Longhurst expressed his excitement about the transfer, acknowledging the profound impact the show had on audiences at the Donmar Warehouse, where tickets were as elusive as they were sought after.
In the United Kingdom, where mental health awareness has become a pressing concern, the arrival of Next to Normal holds special significance. According to a report by Mental Health Foundation, one in six people in England is currently experiencing a common mental health problem, and anxiety and depression rates have soared during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, Next to Normal serves as not just a musical but a catalyst for conversation about mental health, encouraging audiences to engage with a subject often shrouded in stigma.
As the acclaimed production finds a new home in London’s West End, it promises to contribute to the ongoing dialogue about mental health in the UK, offering a poignant and relatable portrayal of the challenges individuals and families face. The production’s timing aligns with a growing recognition of the importance of mental health awareness and the need for open conversations surrounding it.
The creative genius behind Next to Normal is led by the Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award-winning composer Tom Kitt and the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning writer Brian Yorkey. Tom Kitt, known for his versatile and emotive compositions, has carved a niche for himself in the entertainment industry. His collaboration with Brian Yorkey on “Next to Normal” resulted in a musical masterpiece that not only resonated with audiences but also garnered critical acclaim.
“Kitt and Yorkey’s musical combines a sensitive exploration of the issue with a wonderful score. Astonishing.”
Tom Kitt’s musical prowess extends beyond Next to Normal. He has been a significant force in Broadway and beyond, contributing his talents to other notable productions. Kitt’s impressive list of credits includes the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal, the Tony Award-winning If/Then, and the Broadway hit Jagged Little Pill, which earned him a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album. His ability to infuse emotion into his compositions has made him a sought-after figure in the world of musical theatre.
Brian Yorkey, Tom Kitt’s collaborator and the lyricist behind Next to Normal, has also left an indelible mark on the industry. Apart from the success of Next to Normal, Yorkey’s talent has been recognised with the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award. His commitment to addressing complex themes and delving into the human psyche has set him apart as a storyteller of exceptional depth and insight.
“Kitt and Yorkey’s decision to write about mental health implicitly rebukes those who think musicals can’t be serious. Their approach is compassionate, thoughtful, but also witty”
As the West End eagerly anticipates the arrival of Next to Normal, it not only welcomes a critically acclaimed musical but a poignant exploration of mental health and human resilience. The collaboration between Michael Longhurst, Tom Kitt, and Brian Yorkey promises to deliver an unforgettable theatrical experience that goes beyond the confines of entertainment, touching the hearts and minds of audiences grappling with the nuances of the human condition.
Casting for the West End run of Next To Normal is to be announced.
The Donmar Warehouse
Nestled in the heart of London’s West End, the Donmar Warehouse stands not only as a venue for exceptional drama but also as a star-studded haven that has witnessed the brilliance of celebrated artists. Established in 1992 by Sam Mendes and David Lan, this 251-seat gem has become a beacon of creativity, boasting a history that reads like a who’s who of the theatrical world.
From its inception, the Donmar Warehouse has hosted a galaxy of stars, bringing the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Daniel Craig, and Nicole Kidman to its intimate stage. These luminaries have graced audiences with performances that transcend the boundaries of the ordinary, adding a touch of Hollywood glamour to London’s theatre scene.
Noteworthy productions at the Donmar include the 1994 premiere of “Cabaret,” a dazzling spectacle that not only showcased the theatre’s artistic prowess but also catapulted it into the international spotlight. Over the years, under the directorial stewardship of visionaries like Michael Grandage and Josie Rourke, the Donmar has consistently attracted A-list talent, turning each production into a must-see event.
The allure of the Donmar Warehouse extends beyond its star-studded casts to the creative minds that have shaped its legacy. Renowned playwrights and directors, including Patrick Marber and Phyllida Lloyd, have made their mark within its walls, contributing to the theatre’s reputation for bold and innovative storytelling.
In addition to its artistic triumphs, the Donmar Warehouse has been a trailblazer in making theatre accessible to all. Outreach programs and initiatives have not only widened the theatre’s audience but have also cemented its role as a cultural hub that champions diversity and inclusion.
One of the crowning glories of the Donmar’s legacy is its knack for West End transfers. Productions like Red and Coriolanus have not only garnered critical acclaim at the Donmar but have also successfully transitioned to larger venues, captivating audiences on a global scale. And now, adding to its illustrious history, the Donmar Warehouse proudly welcomes Next to Normal as its latest triumph. This critically acclaimed show, making its mark on the West End, continues the tradition of excellence that defines the Donmar’s legacy. As the theatre continues to be a magnet for artistic brilliance and a playground for A-list talent, its legacy shines brightly in the constellation of London’s theatrical history.
As the Donmar Warehouse continues to be a magnet for artistic brilliance and a playground for A-list talent, its legacy shines brightly in the constellation of London’s theatrical history. With each season, this iconic venue reaffirms its commitment to pushing boundaries, nurturing emerging talent, and providing audiences with an unforgettable blend of celebrity allure and artistic excellence.
Next To Normal is produced by David Stone, James L. Nederlander and The Donmar Warehouse. For further information, visit www.nexttonormal.com.