Research Project Title

Next to Normal: Exploring Mental Illness Through Musical Theatre

Session Type

Poster Presentation

Research Project Abstract

This presentation will document the authors' process of mounting a staged reading of the rock musical Next to Normal on April 5 2018. The show will be presented in fulfillment of the Theatre Arts major at Gonzaga, and in partnership with Gonzaga’s Center for Cura Personalis. Annika serves as director and plays the role of Diana, while Jacqueline serves as music director and plays the role of Natalie. Next to Normal is a 2009 musical written by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, about a mother -Diana - and her worsening struggle with bipolar disorder. It subsequently explores her attempts at treatment, including ECT and psychiatric drugs, and the toll these attempts takes on her husband Dan and her teenage daughter Natalie. Next to Normal was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, and won the 2010 Pultizer Prize for Drama. The presentation will include the authors' research into the pertinent themes and topics of the show such as mental illness, modern psychiatric treatments, and grief. Annika will focus on textual analysis of the musical, discussing the treatment of the themes and topics in the text of the show. Jacqueline will focus on the musical score and how it is constructed to highlight specific character themes as well as general themes. Both authors will address the process behind the marketing tie-in with the Center for Cura Personalis. Next to Normal is highly relevant to today's culture, as both mental illness and the stigma surrounding it continue to grow. Tackling this subject in the form of theatre is a complex challenge, but one that can be rewarding and serve as an agent of change in the community. Ultimately, this presentation will delineate both the artistic and research processes behind presenting such a technical and thematically dense piece of theatre.

Session Number

PS2

Location

HUB Multipurpose Room

Abstract Number

PS2-c

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COinS
 
Apr 28th, 11:00 AM Apr 28th, 12:30 PM

Next to Normal: Exploring Mental Illness Through Musical Theatre

HUB Multipurpose Room

This presentation will document the authors' process of mounting a staged reading of the rock musical Next to Normal on April 5 2018. The show will be presented in fulfillment of the Theatre Arts major at Gonzaga, and in partnership with Gonzaga’s Center for Cura Personalis. Annika serves as director and plays the role of Diana, while Jacqueline serves as music director and plays the role of Natalie. Next to Normal is a 2009 musical written by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, about a mother -Diana - and her worsening struggle with bipolar disorder. It subsequently explores her attempts at treatment, including ECT and psychiatric drugs, and the toll these attempts takes on her husband Dan and her teenage daughter Natalie. Next to Normal was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, and won the 2010 Pultizer Prize for Drama. The presentation will include the authors' research into the pertinent themes and topics of the show such as mental illness, modern psychiatric treatments, and grief. Annika will focus on textual analysis of the musical, discussing the treatment of the themes and topics in the text of the show. Jacqueline will focus on the musical score and how it is constructed to highlight specific character themes as well as general themes. Both authors will address the process behind the marketing tie-in with the Center for Cura Personalis. Next to Normal is highly relevant to today's culture, as both mental illness and the stigma surrounding it continue to grow. Tackling this subject in the form of theatre is a complex challenge, but one that can be rewarding and serve as an agent of change in the community. Ultimately, this presentation will delineate both the artistic and research processes behind presenting such a technical and thematically dense piece of theatre.