First look at NEXT TO NORMAL at the Westport Country Playhouse

The three-time Tony Award-winning and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, “Next to Normal,” opens the Westport Country Playhouse’s 92nd season, April 6-24.

A multiracial cast is led by Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Tony Award winner for his portrayal of Angel in “Rent” and Dar. Lee. To see. Ah, who played Erzulie in the Tony Award®-winning revival of “Once on This Island.”

The musical is directed and choreographed by Marcos Santana, who conducted the Playhouse production of “In the Heights” in 2019. Featuring a six-piece live orchestra, the pop/rock score is by Tom Kitt, with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey.

“Next to Normal” pushes the boundaries of contemporary musical theater with a story about the loss and endurance of a family. Dad is an architect. Mom rushes to prepare lunches and pour cereal. Their daughter and son are bright and well-behaved teenagers. They seem like a typical suburban American family. And yet, their life is anything but ordinary as the mother has struggled with mental illness for 16 years. As the mother’s struggle prevents the family from having a normal life, she hopes for an “almost normal” life. Musical comedy takes the audience inside the minds and hearts of each character, presenting their family history with love, compassion and wit. The show is appropriate for ages 14 and up; the duration is approximately two hours with a 15-minute intermission.

The diverse cast will give audiences a different perspective on the popular musical. The cast includes Dar. Lee. To see. Ah. like Diana, wife and mother. She was in Westport Country Playhouse’s “Nicolette and Aucassin” in 2000. Other credits include the Tony-winning cover of “Once on This Island”, “Shuffle Along”, “The Color Purple” and “Ragtime”. Awards on Broadway.

Wilson Jermaine Heredia will play Dan, Diana’s husband. He was in Broadway’s “Rent,” for which he won the 1996 Tony Award® for the role of Angel, and Drama Desk and Obie Award for Best Featured Actor in the Musical. Heredia reprized the role in London and in the 2005 film. Other credits include Broadway’s “La Cage aux Folles” opposite Harvey Fierstein; films “Tick, Tick… Boom!” for Netflix and “Flawless” with Robert De Niro.

Others in the cast are Daniel J. Maldonado as Gabe, Diana and Dan’s son (“The Streets of New York” from Off-Broadway); Regional Theater’s “Newsies,” for which he earned a Helen Hayes nomination; World premiere in Boston of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical”; “Grease”, “Pippin”, “The Graduate”, “Rock of Ages”, “The Who’s Tommy”); Ashley LaLonde as Natalie, Diana and Dan’s daughter (singer at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 54 Below, Don’t Tell Mama, US Open; recently graduated from Harvard University); Gian Perez as Henry, Natalie’s classmate (The original cast of Broadway’s “Sing Street” as Kevin; Cantor in “Night Side Songs” at ART; new album “No Love for Cowboy”); and Katie Thompson as Dr. Madden / Dr. Well (Broadway “Oklahoma” as aunt Eller; world premiere of “Renascence”, “RRRED a Secret Musical”, which she composed; other theatrical credits include “Giant”, “Big Fish”, “Pump Boys and Dinettes”).

Single tickets for “Next to Normal” start at $35 during previews (April 6-8) and from April 9 on opening night, tickets start at $50 and are subject to change based on availability. Buy early for the best prices. For more information on special offers, including discounts for students, seniors, educators, military and first responders, Indigenous peoples, professional playwrights and groups, as well as options to pay this you want and the Westport Library Pass, visit

About Roy B. Westling

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