Next to Normal Reviews
Washington Post- Recommended
"...A co-production with Massachusetts's Barrington Stage Company, where Paul was appointed artistic director in 2022 after spending a decade-plus in Washington, "Next to Normal" also serves as a sterling showcase for D.C.-area talent. Kevin S. McAllister imbues Diana's concerned husband, Dan, with rich vocals and heart-wrenching pathos. Sophia Early endearingly inhabits their overachieving teenage daughter, while Ben Clark charms as her roguish boyfriend. And Lucas Hinds Babcock (the only out-of-town actor) commands the stage as Diana and Dan's son - especially when delivering an empowered rendition of the haunting toe-tapper "I'm Alive.""
DC Theater Arts- Highly Recommended
"...Next to nothing is wrong with Round House Theatre's Next to Normal, a musical masterpiece by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt that explores mental illness. Mostly "sung-through," the Pulitzer- and Tony-winning work - an unblinking peepshow of how a dysfunctional family struggles to function - is rock opera at its finest."
MetroWeekly- Highly Recommended
"...Olivera and McAllister marry beautifully as onstage partners in Diana and Dan’s complicated, trying existence. Their bustling family dynamic, with teenage son Gabe (Lucas Hinds Babcock) and daughter Natalie (Sophia Early), is credibly set in the first number, “Just Another Day,” aided by effective intentional misdirection. They might seem like everything is “normal,” until the scene reveals Diana’s tenuous hold on reality."
BroadwayWorld- Highly Recommended
"...Round House Theatre’s production of Next to Normal is immersive and searing theatre that packs an emotional wallop."
Talkin Broadway- Highly Recommended
"...Director Alan Paul shows a deep understanding of the nuances of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical by Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics) and Tom Kitt (music), which examines the effects of a woman's bipolar disorder on the other members of her family. Diana (Olivera) is searching for a lasting remedy for her turmoil, but her behavior also wears down her relationships with husband Dan (Kevin S. McAllister), children Natalie (Sophie Early) and Gabe (Lucas Hinds Babcock), and Natalie's classmate Henry (Ben Clark)."
Washington City Paper- Somewhat Recommended
"...But now, 15 years after its premiere, Next to Normal feels acutely situated in a different America. While the opioid epidemic was still claiming lives during the show’s original run, no one could have predicted how COVID-19 would warp American trust in medicine that had previously been taken as a given. It would be unfair to say Next to Normal feels dated or somehow left behind, considering how much of the show holds up. But it now exhibits an uncomfortable tinge of quaintness that is at odds with its heavy subject matter."
Washington Blade- Highly Recommended
"...Similarly, the mostly sung through musical is a hit at Round House (with an extended run through March 3) thanks largely to the revival’s inventive staging, fresh musical direction by Chris Youstra, and an uber talented cast of six. "
MD Theatre Guide- Recommended
"...Like a sharp current through the brain, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical illuminates the rippling impacts of mental illness. Yorkey’s darkly comic script and Kitt’s electrifying score still effortlessly pull audiences through euphoric highs, gut-wrenching lows, and twist after twist in this modern portrait of an American family haunted by loss. At Round House Theatre, in a co-production with Barrington Stage Company, “Next to Normal” remains resonant and relevant today, 15 years after it first graced DC stages at Arena Stage. Under Alan Paul’s direction, this new production leans into high definition video projections to zoom in on inner turmoil."