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March 08, 2018 : OUL Theatre’s Energetic Pop-Rock Musical "next to normal" Opens April 4


by Brooke Arnold


Ohio University Lancaster Theatre continues its 2017-2018 season with the modern musical, next to normal. The show opens Wednesday, April 4 at 7:00 pm and runs through April 8, 2018. Tickets are available now at


Acclaimed as “the best musical of the 21st century” by Rolling Stone magazine, next to normal tells the story of a suburban family coping with their troubled mother. Christina Bernthold, a junior Communications major, plays the role of Diana Goodman, the troubled mother. She says about the role, “Diana has many different sides to her and I am excited to be able to show her troubles and her triumphs; she is a complex character.”


next to normalBrenton LeuVoy, a junior Theatre major, who plays the role of Dan Goodman, Diana’s husband, and father of the family, echoes that idea. When asked why the role interested him, he said “Dan is in such a complicated position that brings out so many conflicting emotions and his songs bring out those deep feelings in such a beautiful way.” Both LeuVoy and Bernthold agree that this show is one of a kind and should not be missed. Bernthold says, “the show is real and shows a family with hardships that anyone can identify with” while LeuVoy says, “there is something in this story that people from all walks of life can relate to.”


With a score by Tom Kitt and book/lyrics by Brian Yorkey, next to normal boasts a modern sound not typically heard in musicals. The music has a pop rock sound that contains familiar elements such as drums, bass, and electric guitar. Bernthold loves the music, saying, “it’s a new era of theatre” and wants “anyone, from any generation, to experience just how heartfelt this musical is.”


The musical, which won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and three Tony Awards in 2009, was acclaimed by critics such as The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. It is an unflinching look at grieving, loss, and life. LeuVoy encourages everyone to see the show, saying that it is “one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments that no one wants to miss. I think that the OUL Theatre program is doing something very special and I encourage anyone to see this show, because it will change you.”


Ohio University Lancaster Theatre’s box office is staffed Monday through Friday, 12:00 – 4:00 p.m., beginning Wednesday, March 14, 2018, as well as one hour before shows. To order tickets, call 740-681-3353 or visit the box office in front of the Wagner Theatre at 1570 Granville Pike. OUL Theatre is partnering with Fairfield County ADAMH and Artistic Sign Language services on the special production. ASL Interpreters will be provided at the Sunday, April 8, 2 PM matinee. For more information, visit the theatre program website at or contact Theatre Director A. Victor Jones at