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Theatre Review: ‘Next To Normal,’ at The Academy of Music

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Fasten your seatbelts, theatregoers.  One of the most honored musical plays in recent memory has moved into the Academy of Music for a limited engagement.

So, if you want to attend the local run of the Broadway smash “Next To Normal,” you are going to have to act fast.

What we have here is a theatrical powerhouse — an up-tempo musical focused  on a mother struggling with a worsening  bipolar disorder and her family with similar concerns.

The drama was born years ago in workshop performances, gravitating to Broadway where it eventually collected Tony and Pulitzer Prize honors.

It arrives locally for only a handful of performances before continuing its nationwide tour and a half-dozen stops in foreign countries.

The highlight of the Academy of Music appearance is the cast headed by the gifted Alice Ripley as the manic-depressive mother and the focus of this musically intense drama.

“Next To Normal” is, without question, mature theatre dealing with a psychologically battle-scarred family — at the Academy of Music only through Sunday, June 26th.

Reviewed by Bob Nelson, KYW Newsradio 1060

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  • Ana

    ditto. I also saw this on the 23rd and didn’t really have high expectations because I’ve been reading how horrible her voice is and how she has pulled out of many performances in other cities. I was still disappointed, though. Not the Alice Ripley I am used to hearing!

  • J

    I saw this last night and I’m dumbfounded that Alice Ripley won a TONY for this! She was horrible. It was like an awkward high school musical where you start to feel bad for the poor actor who just couldn’t carry a tune. The audience kept looking around at each other trying to determine what was wrong with her. She would stop signing during a duet because she was so unbelievably off key. The rest of the cast was amazing, but she was cringe worthy. Maybe she was ill, but she definitely should not have been on stage.

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