Next to Normal

The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

17/06/2023 - 22/07/2023

Production Details

Music by Tom Kitt
Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey
Directed by Hayden Tee
Musical Direction by Richard Marrett

The Court Theatre

Next to Normal, one of Broadway’s most celebrated contemporary musicals, opens at The Court Theatre in Ōtautahi Christchurch on 17 June. It is directed by Broadway and West-End star, Hayden Tee (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Takatāpui), with musical direction by Richard Marrett and features a cast with multiple international musical theatre credits.

Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for drama and nominated for 11 TONY awards (winning three, including Best Original Score), Next to Normal stands out in the musical theatre canon, not only for its virtuosic score, but for the layered depiction of mental illness which is at its core.

Next to Normal focusses on Diana and her family as they endeavour to find that elusive ‘cure’ to her bipolar disorder. However, her struggle to be ‘normal’ profoundly affects all those around her. Next to Normal is complex and challenging rock musical, containing moments that are in turn poignant and humorous, and Tee promises that his approach will be fresh, amazing and – in the right places – just a little bit sexy.

Next to Normal runs at The Court Theatre 17 June – 22 July 2023

Adult $65 – $72
Senior (65+) $59 – $65
Friends of The Court Theatre $56 – $62
Child (under 18) $36
Student ID cardholders $36
Community Services or Hāpai Access cardholders $36
Group (6+) 10% Discount*
* Applies to Standard Adult, Friends, Child and Senior price tickets

Mon and Thur 6:30pm
Tue, Wed, Fri and Sat 7:30pm
Forum 6:30pm Mon 19 June
Matinee 2:00pm Sat 22 July

Bookings: phone 0800 333 100 or visit

Juliet Reynolds-Midgely (Diana)
Darryl Lovegrove (Dan)
Joel Granger (Gabe)
Laurel Gregory (Natalie)
Juan Jackson (Doctor)
George Hiku (Henry; understudy for Gabe)
Jack Shatford (Henry understudy)
Nick Purdie (Doctor and Dan understudy)
Lucy Sutcliffe (Natalie understudy)
Cherie Moore (Diana understudy)

Director - Hayden Tee
Choreographer - Hillary Moulder
Assistant Director - Ben Freeth
Costume Designer - Sopheak Seng
Production Design - Rachel Marlow / Brad Gledhill for Filament Eleven 11
AV Designer - Rachel Neser
Sound Design - Bounce NZ
Operator - Joshua Starling
Stage Manager - Scott Leighton
Assistant Stage Manager and Sound Assistant Haydon Dickie

Musical Director and piano - Richard Marrett
Assistant Musical Director - Caelan Thomas
Violin and keyboard - Rakuto Kurano
Cello - Iain Brandram-Adams
Bass - Michael Story
Guitar - Heather Webb
Percussion - Douglas Brush

Musical , Theatre ,

Approx. 140 mins (incl. interval)

A thoughtful yet forceful creation, artfully balanced to translate the unspeakable into theatrical triumph

Review by Lindsay Clark 18th Jun 2023

Anticipation is a risky accompaniment to live theatre outings, even as promotional material gives us more and more highly coloured invitations. The bald fact that an enterprise explores issues to do with mental disorder and its impact on those immediately concerned could seem an unlikely starting point for the joyous satisfaction musical theatre so often brings. 

All the more intense the pleasure then, when we are captivated by a thoroughly original treatment of mental health issues, where characters are fresh and totally engaging, moving through a world where vibrant production values enhance a flawlessly delivered score. Yes, the work has earned both Tony awards (3) and the Pulitzer Prize, but it is in the collaborative impact of music, action and a transformed stage here in Christchurch that makes this production a resounding triumph for me.

A fervent plea to avoid spoilers necessarily limits giving too much away about what happens in the way of action. Enough that we are faced with the close circle centred around a manic mother. What happens to her memories and her family drives the performance. Compellingly.

The cast of six (including the understudy who is brought on late in the performance), each establish a strong physical and vocal presence in the production, from its high-powered opening to the last notes of the final exchange and because music shapes emotional interaction among the players, each word is enhanced in a way often less clear in spoken dialogue. There are 40 musical numbers in this show and each cleverly confirms both the way we have come and links to the way ahead.

At the centre of developments, Juliet Reynolds-Midgley as Diana is terrific. She has total control of the demanding role, bringing gut-wrenching credibility to this woman whose frailty and courage shapes the story with neither sentimentality nor overstatement.

Her devoted but troubled husband Dan is brought to thoroughly convincing life by Darryl Lovegrove, acclaimed for his outstanding work in Australia and seen here previously in touring shows. Their teen- aged daughter Natalie has both her own challenges and the pain of family complications to navigate. Laurel Gregory and standby Lucy Sutcliffe create a moving role with delicacy and assurance, sympathetically supported by George Hiku as boyfriend Henry. 

Quicksilver Joel Granger is unforgettable as Gabe, their son, whose significance in the play is critical. Physically and vocally he simply shines, while as the doctor responsible for major shifts of focus and understanding, Juan Jackson turns in a finely tuned role.

Design is a strong element of this splendid production. The set provides a composite spread for domestic and medical action, created in Bauhaus style by designers Rachel Marlow and Brad Gledhill (production) and Rachel Neser (AV). The band, working with the redoubtable Richard Marrett, is concealed at its centre, driving the score with supple finesse. Add inventive choreography (Hillary Moulder), effective lighting (Giles Tanner) and costume (Sopheak Seng) and the whole – directed by Hayden Tee – is a forceful creation, able to translate the unspeakable into theatrical triumph.

It is a thoughtful production, where the artful balance between impact and truthfulness guarantees the audience a memorable experience. 


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