Next to Normal

February 2018

Director’s Note

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:5

In the summer of 2009, I deserted my family at the Bronx Zoo, hopped on the subway, and made my way to Broadway. Our rare, three-day, family vacation to NYC was costing a lot more than we had planned, but my wife—who had already seen Next to Normal on Broadway—insisted that I try to snare a rush ticket for the sold-out show. Later that evening, I found myself leaning against the back wall of the Booth Theatre with a half-priced, partial-view, standing-room only ticket in my hand. That cathartic evening turned into one of the more powerful theatrical experiences in memory. Nine years later, we offer this unique show for the Northwestern community.

People who live in our little theological pocket of humanity tend to focus on our fallen, broken word; it’s a Calvinist thing. If you find yourself so inclined, have we got a show for you! Next to Normal’s portrayal of the insidious and withering effects of mental illness on an American family poignantly and honestly reflects our fallen world. For families afflicted by the ravages of mental illness, the world often seems pretty dark; this is not the way things are supposed to be.

Thankfully, people in our little theological pocket of humanity are also fond of ruminating on themes of redemption and restoration. If you find yourself so inclined, have we got a show for you! Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s complicated, Pulitzer Prize-winning musical transcends the bleak hopelessness of its subject matter. Cutting through the darkness, it radiates earthy humor, exemplifies love, and promises grace. Without resorting to the pat platitudes or a contrived happy ending, Next to Normal ultimately gifts us all the future-perfect promise: “there will be light.”