Next to Normal is one of the greatest musicals I have watched my entire life. It is the only play that has ever brought me to tears. How important is that? To give you an idea, I’ve never cried over a single movie. Ever.
That was some time early this year, when it was run by Atlantis Productions in the RCBC theater. I didn’t do any research on its story beforehand — I like surprises. So knowing that it was a rock musical, I expected it to be sort of fun. While it did make me laugh a lot, what struck me more is how effortlessly it broke my heart.
Hands down to Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, who played as the manic-depressive mother — a role which, as mentioned by Maria Ressa in her blog post is downright “exhausting”. I couldn’t have thought of a better description for that character. Other roles were played by: Jett Pangan ( as Dan, the father), Felix Rivera (as Gabe, the son), Bea Garcia (as Natalie, the daughter) and Jake Macapagal (as the doctor — my favorite!). Good story, splendid performance.
In fact, Ms. Lea Salonga says:
“This is the best production Atlantis has presented in its many years of producing theater, not with a mammoth set, a huge cast, and racks of elaborate costumes, but with simplicity and directness, and a cast of six wonderful actors whose sole purpose was to tell a good story.”
Next to Normal is all about pain, love and family. I shall say nothing more lest I spoil it for you. I highly recommend you watch it, as they have a rerun from October 7 to 16, 2011. I’d watch it again if I get the chance.