January 16, 2011. We all knew the day was coming. We did. Solid rumors had been swirling for months. (Which is to say nothing of the naysayers predicting constant doom almost from word one.) But that didn’t make today’s announcement—like a gut punch you see coming but just can’t avoid—hurt any less. Next to Normal is closing.
Losing Tony winner Alice Ripley and (shirtless) Aaron Tveit had been hard enough over the last year. But now, our whole beloved show is taking a bow and we’re not ready to say goodbye.
The little show that could, Next to Normal took its unlikely story—of a family struggling with profound mental illness—from regional theater to Broadway with sharp-as-a-tack marketing, brilliant use of social media, and a smart business plan. At the Booth Theater it broke hearts open, brought tears pouring down people’s cheeks and inspired fierce devotion. But by recouping its investment in March of 2010, Next to Normal also proved that real, honest-to-goodness new musicals are still viable in this day and age. Then it won a fucking Pulitzer.
Next to Normal will be dearly missed. But is a huge success story, even in closing, and we hope it will continue inspire—not only future audiences, but also aspiring theater writers, composers and producers. We know the story will never leave our hearts.
Image: Next to Normal