Brian Yorkey answers questions Monday about ‘Next to Normal’

January 8, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 2 p.m. Jan. 8, 2011

Brian Yorkey takes to the stage Monday to discuss the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “Next to Normal” — weeks before the national tour reaches Seattle.

Yorkey, a former Village Theatre associate artistic director and Issaquah High School alumnus, is scheduled to participate in Spotlight Night at The 5th Avenue Theatre.

David Armstrong, 5th Avenue Theatre executive producer and artistic director, hosts the Q&A session.

Yorkey appears at the Seattle theater to discuss the rock musical “Next to Normal” — a dysfunctional-family-drama about a bipolar-disorder-afflicted housewife.

The piece earned Yorkey and composer Tom Kitt the Pulitzer Prize for Drama — a rarity reserved for only a handful of musicals — early last year.

Spotlight Night starts at 7 p.m. Monday at the downtown Seattle theater, 1308 Fifth Ave.

The event is free, but because seating is limited, attendees should call ahead to reserve seats. Call 206-625-1900 or 888-584-4849 or reserve seats online. Or, pick up tickets in person at the box office, 1308 Fifth Ave., Seattle.

The national tour of “Next to Normal” opens at The 5th Avenue Theatre on Feb. 22 and runs through March 13.

“Next to Normal” originated at Village Theatre in 2002 as “Feeling Electric” and, after a long gestation, opened on Broadway in April 2009.

The show is scheduled to close Jan. 16 at Broadway’s Booth Theatre after 21 previews and 733 performances.

The production cleaned up at the 2009 Tony Awards. Yorkey garnered a writing honor and Alice Ripley — the lead actress in the Broadway production and the national tour — picked up the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical.

Spotlight Night features a look at another upcoming 5th Avenue Theatre production.

Before the “Next to Normal” session, the event features “Vanities” authors Jack Heifner and David Kirshenbaum.

“Vanities” traces 11 years in the lives of a trio of young women growing up in Texas during the turbulent ‘60s and ‘70s. The successful play opened Off Broadway in 1976 and became the most-produced play in the country for most of the decade.

Now, the play has been reincarnated as a musical.

Heifner and Kirshenbaum plan to discuss the storyline’s journey from spoken word to song. The segment also features from musical performances from Krishenbaum and the show’s cast.

The 5th Avenue Theatre and ACT – A Contemporary Theatre teamed up to present the “Vanities” musical from Feb. 4 to May 1.

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