(Fredericton, NB) – Fredericton’s summer theatre experience is about to explode as Blind Faith Productions prepares to open Next To Normal, a musical which explores the impact of bipolar disorder on a mother and her family. Not the usual ‘stuff’ of musical theatre, but when you pair the emotional extremes of mental illness with rock music you get something that is socially relevant AND completely entertaining.
The musical will be directed by New Brunswick native Shawn Henry, who returns to work and live in his hometown of Fredericton. Henry has wanted to mount this musical since its Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning run on Broadway just a few years ago.
Says Henry, “This show challenges people, but not in a way that is unmanageable or frightening – it has humour and heart. Not only that, but it has an incredible score that really heightens the emotional impact of the show and lifts you right out of your seat.”
Blind Faith Productions has opted for a smaller, intimate setting for the play, reconfiguring the stage and backstage area of The Playhouse to create a 160-seat studio theatre as was originally created for The Bricklin: An Automotive Fantasy, produced by The Playhouse and Theatre New Brunswick. The hope is to revitalize that unique theatre experience in the community, and to use a space that would traditionally be relatively dark over the summer tourist season. In fact, not since The Bricklin has the studio space been used in such a way during the summer months.
Notable in the casting announcement is that Tania Breen will play the lead role of Diana. Wowing Maritimer audiences for the past several years as both a vocalist and an actor, patrons will remember her stellar performance in The Bricklin as Michelle, a small town girl with big city dreams, where she received rave reviews from the Telegraph Journal, who noted, “Smoky-voiced and smokin’ hot Tania Breen is simply stellar.”
In Next To Normal, Breen plays the delusional, bipolar, and depressed mother who is feisty yet fragile due to her mental affliction. Her character’s condition of roller coaster emotions and deteriorating grasp of reality has taken its toll on her family, and Breen plays her with heart-wrenching honesty all while balancing intense emotions with gutsy rock anthems.
“Tania has an incredible stage presence,” says Henry. “Her versatility as an actor is second to none but her charisma and commitment to a character, no matter what the role, keeps the audience hooked until the story is told.”
This will definitely be an evening of musical theatre not to be missed. Continues Henry. “Tania Breen will lead a cast of rock star performances in a show that is achingly beautiful in its hopes and dreams, and that will also move you to tears.”
Next to Normal runs from Thursday August 29 to Sunday September 1, with a special preview performance on Wednesday, August 28. All performances are at 7:30pm and take place in The Fredericton Playhouse Studio Space.
For tickets, contact The Fredericton Playhouse box office in person, by phone at 506-458-8344 or online at www.theplayhouse.ca.
For all media inquiries, please contact:
Jill Scaplen, Director of Marketing & Communications
Blind Faith Productions
firstname.lastname@example.org | 506.447.1047