Hello everyone. Tonight is the first ever Musical Monday here at YA Indulgences!
This is a new feature I am going to be doing every Monday. It will consist of two bi-monthly parts relating to musicals, music and story telling. Each part will alternate weeks.
The first part will focus on musicals. I will be discussing, raving about and/or fangirling over a specific musical that I love or have discovered. These may just be over the recordings I’ve heard on Youtube since I do like to simply listen to musicals. They may be over a movie musical, dvd performance, dvd concert, or a musical I’ve watched on Youtube.
I came up with this feature the other night because I love musicals so much. If I could stay at home and listen to musicals all day, you can believe I would. I’ll be honest and say I have actually done that before. 🙂 I love musicals for a variety of reasons, the biggest one being I love the stories and feelings they can tell all from one song.
However, I did more thinking and thought I would also list five specific songs along with this feature, that I feel do a great job and story telling in terms of plot or feelings. I often wonder about the people in the songs and they become characters in my mind, different ones every time I listen to a song though.
I can get a bit enthusiastic so be a ware. 🙂
All right, now that I have explained and rambled about my new feature, let me begin!
The focus of tonight’s musical is the Pulitizer Prize winner, Next To Normal. Yay, cue the excitement. Next To Normal was first produced Off-Broadway after being workshopped.It later moved to Broadway in 2009. There are two acts in the musical.
This is an emotional packed musical if I have ever listened or heard one before in my life. It has a small ensemble cast of only six characters. It revolves around your typical nuclear suburban family, the Goodmans, consisting of a mother, Diana, father, Dan, and their teenagers, Gabe and Natalie. Things aren’t so typical though in the Goodman household as we see in the opening song Just Another Day when Natalie sings
“So it’s time like these I wonder how I take it and if other families live the way we do, if they love each other or if they just fake it and if other daughters feel like I feel too, cause some days i think I’m dying, but I’m really only trying to get through for another day”.
As the other family members join in the song, listeners and viewers will notice this family is suffering strongly and not quite normal. None of the family members communicate well with each other.
The mother, Diana suffers form mental illnesses. This musical shows how the family members including Diana deal with her illnesses. One of the many great things about Next To Normal is that the composers don’t look down on mental illness nor do they sugarcoat it. Diana goes to multiple doctors as they try to figure out how to “fix” her mental illness.
This musical is the one that hits closest to home for me with families not being quite how you would like them at times.
I relate most to the character of Natalie, the invisible girl in her family. Her goal is to go to Yale and finally be away from her family who ignores her. One of my favorite songs involving Natalie are “Hey #1”, “Hey #2”, and “Hey #3” which involves a guy named Henry who she meets while practicing piano. I think you guys will end up loving Henry, I know I do beginning in “Perfect For You” where he voices his feelings to Natalie.
I love how honest all the songs are as the characters come to realizations and voice their pain. Diana sings several songs herself such as “I Miss The Mountains” where Diana sings about how she used to feel before mental illness took over. One of the most heart breaking songs in the musical is “So Anyway” which Diana sings. Diana also starts the show stopper, “You Don’t Know” which Dan joins in.
Dan himself gets a couple emotional songs, one taking place after an unfortunate event occurs called “I’ve Been”.
One of the most interesting characters is Natalie’s older brother name Gabe. He is also the darker character of Next To Normal. The majority of his interactions are to his mother. Gabe sings another show stopper called “I’m Alive”. Natalie and he also have a rough relationship, to say the least. The music itself is a mix of music being rock, pop, and the occasional classical ballroom style song.
This musical gives me so many feelings when I listen and watch it. Each of the character goes through a journey by the musical’s end.
Diana has problems with Gabe and her mental illness.
Dan has to try to fix his crumbling marriage with Diana, his distance from Natalie in addition to trying to help Diana.
Natalie deals with her parents negligence of her and turns to Henry as well as other things.
Gabe comes to term with himself.
The singers themselves really encompass the feelings of the characters and I can’t see anyone else singing their charters. In the Original Broadway Cast Recording, the singers are as follows:
Alice Ripley is Diana Goodman Diana is played by Alice Ripley
Dan is J. Robert Spencer
Natalie is Jennifer Damiano
Gabe is Aaron Tveit
Henry is Adam Chanler-Berat
Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden is Louis Hobson
I feel Next To Normal handles mental illness in a realistic portrayal and how it affect not only the person with the illness but also their family. I really believe that anyone who takes the time to listen or watch this musical, there is something you will enjoy about it.
You can watch the original Broadway cast musical here.
Okay, that’s it for me. I hope I made a little sense and gave you a sense of the musical in all my talking. 🙂
If you like musicals, let me know what one is your favorite or favorites. 🙂
I know this post is a bit rough, I’m sure they’ll be better though. Make sure to look out for next week’s Musical Monday which will consist of five story telling songs and why I love them.