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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Next to Normal rocks Duke Energy Theater

Posted By on Sat, Feb 2, 2013 at 8:00 AM

As they've done before - with Side Show, Grey Gardens, and Passion - Queen City Theatre Company is journeying beyond a musical comfort zone with Next to Normal. The 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner for drama boasts a probing script and lyrics by Brian Yorkey fused with a corrosive rock score by Tom Kitt. It's the musical Stephen Sondheim might have written if he'd dropped acid and been committed to an asylum.

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Alyson Lowe stars as Diana (the bipolar role that won Alice Ripley a Tony Award), desperately - sometimes comically - navigating her way through the wacky mental health system while trying to exorcise the memory of her lost son. Yorkey's script is no less empathetic to the other shell-shocked survivors, and with Billy Ensley, Abby Corrigan, and Matt Carlson in the cast, it should be an exciting ride. Glenn T. Griffin directs. $25-$28. Feb. 2, 8 p.m.; Feb. 3, 3 p.m.; Feb. 6-7, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 8, 8 p.m.; Feb. 9, 8 p.m. Duke Energy Theater, 345 N. College St. 704-372-1000. www.blumenthalarts.org.

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