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

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(Curt Hansen as Gabe, Alice Ripley as Diana, and Asa Somers as Dan in the national touring production of "Next to Normal," at the Academy of Music through June 26th.  Photo by Craig Schwartz, provided)

(Curt Hansen as Gabe, Alice Ripley as Diana, and Asa Somers as Dan in the national touring production of “Next to Normal,” at the Academy of Music through June 26th. Photo by Craig Schwartz, provided)

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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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