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Tantrum Theater to stage musical ‘Next to Normal’

Tantrum Theater will continue its third season with the Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical, “Next to Normal,” with music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, running July 11 – July 29 at the Abbey Theater in Dublin. The production is under the direction of Robert Barry Fleming, who returns to Tantrum after directing last year’s acclaimed “Caroline, or Change.”

Father, mother, sister, brother. The Goodmans may seem like a comfortable family, but they’re just trying to make it through another day. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and three Tony Awards, this emotional rollercoaster of a rock musical twists through suburban life in contemporary America with honesty and heart. Examining one family’s struggles with mental illness, medication, and grief, “Next to Normal” offers hope for self-acceptance even when nothing is truly normal.

Returning Director Robert Barry Fleming serves as associate artistic director for the Cleveland Play House, where he recently directed “The Royale.” Fleming formerly served as director of artistic programming at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. and has directed, choreographed and acted in eminent theaters across the country, including the Public Theater, the Old Globe and the Goodman. Fleming is also the production’s choreographer.

Jordan Cooper serves as musical director for the production, joining Tantrum from recent productions of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at the Cleveland Play House and “Memphis the Musical” at Cain Park. The creative team from last year’s “Caroline, or Change” returns alongside Fleming, including Scenic Designer Jason Ardizzone-West, who recently designed NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live,” as well as the Lana Del Rey World Tour. Returning as costume designer is Lex Liang, whose work has been seen on the stage of the Alliance Theatre, Cleveland Play House and La Jolla Playhouse among others. They are joined by Lighting Designer Michael Lincoln, head of Ohio University’s Theater Division, whose 300-plus lighting design credits include the Broadway production and national tours of “Copenhagen,” the Playwrights Horizons production of “The Bubbly Black Girl…” and the Cleveland Play House production of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and Sound Designer Jane Shaw, whose credits include work at the Cleveland Play House, Hartford Stage and the Cincinnati Playhouse. Production Dramaturg Trip Venturella and Assistant Director Jonathan Hetler are M.F.A. candidates in Ohio University’s Theater Division.

Leading a six-member cast in the role of Diana Goodman, Kelsey Venter makes her Tantrum debut with previous credits at the American Conservatory Theater and the Old Globe Theater, among others. Joining her is Marc delaCruz (Dan), who made his Broadway debut in the original cast of “If/Then,” also by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, and recently appeared in “Vietgone” at Studio Theatre in Washington, D. C. In the role of Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine is Travis Kent, who appeared on Broadway in “Disaster!” and whose additional credits include work at Abingdon Theater Company and HERE Arts Center.

In the role of Gabe is Riley McFarland, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan’s musical theatre department who was recently seen in the second national tour of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” He is joined by recent alumni of Ohio University’s B.F.A. performance program Bradley McKelvey-Askin (Natalie) and Tyler Tanner (Henry).


“Next to Normal”

July 11–29

Music by Tom Kitt

Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey

Directed by Robert Barry Fleming

Presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).

  • Wednesday, July 11, 7:30 p.m. – Pay-what-you-will preview
  • Thursday, July 12, 7:30 p.m.– Pay-what-you-will preview, Press Night
  • Friday, July 13, 8 p.m. – Opening
  • Saturday, July 14, 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 15, 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 17, 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 18, 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 19, 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, July 20, 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 21, 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 21, 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 22, 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 24, 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 25, 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 26, 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, July 27, 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 28, 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 28, 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 29, 2 p.m. – Closing

All shows will be performed at the Abbey Theater, Dublin Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road, Dublin, OH 43017.

Purchase tickets today at tantrumtheater.orgor by calling (614) 793-5700.

  • Regular tickets: $29.50
  • Senior tickets (65 and older): $27.00
  • Student tickets (with valid I.D.): $12.00

Note: There will be two pay-what-you-will preview performances for each production.

Season flex passes are available at adult and senior rates. These four-ticket passes can be used in any date combination of the patron’s choice:

  • Adult Season Flex Pass: $100.00
  • Senior Season Flex Pass: $94.00

About Tantrum Theater

Tantrum is a professional company founded in 2015 to serve as a training ground and provide apprenticeship opportunities to students in Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts.

Tantrum’s mission is to create and propel forward a resident professional theater company and training conservatory in Dublin, Ohio in a partnership between the City of Dublin, Dublin Arts Council and the Ohio University College of Fine Arts. Learn more at tantrumtheater.org