Broadway by the Bay’s “Next To Normal” is a look into a world of intensity

Published online August 17, 2017

By Camille Bounds

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Broadway by the Bay performers rehearse for “Next to Normal.”

Broadway by the Bay director Jasen Jeffrey takes us on the slippery slope of emotion and covers a delicate subject that is not usually a plotline for a play let alone a musical. The story “Next to Normal” tells is about a woman with a manic-depressive personality and how she and her family cope. The show delivers a Pulitzer Prize-winning pop rock musical with about 35 songs.

Be prepared for a stunning offering of a multifaceted look into a little understood subject to the general public and oh yes as I said it’s a contemporary, rock musical. The depth that the plot takes us into this dark, insidious disease and gives some perceptive that most who have not experienced or been exposed to – we come away with a new understanding. Amazingly enough, it is for the most part not depressing and at times humorous as well as heart wrenching with a cast that is the ultimate in their field.

Catlin McGinty is riveting in the role of Diana the bi-polar mother trying to cope with a past she can’t catch up with. She is in almost every scene – and delivers a master class in theatre and vocalization.

Also bringing life to their roles is Joe Hudelson as Diana’s loving supportive husband with Mackenzie Cala as Natalie her neglected daughter, Sean Okuniewicz as Gabe, her haunted son, Joey Pisacane as Natalie’s patient friend and Brendan Quirk as Dr. Madden/Dr.Fine. They bring in strong performances and adds strength to the sensitive and at times hysterical/turbulent story with their performances and solid voices.


“Next To Normal” brought lyricist Brian Yorkey the 2009 Tony Award for Best Score and Tom Kitt two Tony’s for Best New Score and  Best Orchestration.  Both won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Drama for “Next To Normal”, rare for a musical.

The specially engineered set is handled by Kelly James Tighe and lighting by Michael Oesch are show stealers – they are unique and ingenious melding with the orchestra conducted by Alicia Jeffrey within the action on stage.

For an evening of fine presentation and theater “Next to Normal” will bring you closer to a subject that needs better understanding and sensitivity.

Camille Bounds is the theatre, arts, and travel columnist for Morgan Hill Life and Gilroy Life. She can be reached at:

“Next To Normal”

Music by Tom Kitt, Book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey

Where: Fox Theatre- 2215 Broadway St. -Redwood City

Through Aug 27

Running time: Two hours and fifteen minutes with one  intermission.

Tickets: $44-$66

Reservations and Information: 650/FOX-7770

Visit broadwaybythe


Camille Bounds

Camille Bounds

Theater Columnist at Morgan Hill Life
Camille Bounds is the theater columnist for the Morgan Hill Life and Gilroy Life. She has performed on Broadway and traveled around the world.
Camille Bounds