Music and Art

Next to Normal the Musical: It’s Back in Manila!

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.

Next to Normal is produced by Atlantis Productions. You can get your tickets from Shows in Manila, or you can just check the poster for more details.

So, what do you think?

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