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UVU Theater Department To Explore Mental Disorders With Drama, ‘Next To Normal’

6 November 2013 No Comment

November 6, 2013

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Whitney Wilkinson

Written by: Wesley Wright

In November, Utah Valley University students and faculty will undertake the nationally acclaimed play, “Next To Normal” in 11 performances at the Noorda Theatre, located on UVU’s Orem campus.

“Next To Normal” has captivated audiences everywhere, and in 2009, it won three Tony Awards for its emotional appeal and dramatic content. The story revolves around a mother’s journey as she grasps the realization of her worsening mental disorder. It enthralls the playgoer in the reality of what bipolar disorder means to both the individual and to those around the individual who deal with the emotional burden of coping with the ailment.

“The UVU Theatre Department is thrilled at the opportunity to tell this powerful, funny and important story,” said Christopher Clark. “Although there is a heavy emotional presence in the musical, it also has authentic moments of comedic relief to lighten the presence of a very serious topic. The hope is that this performance will help the audience look at important issues with a thoughtful, moving and Tony Award-winning score.”

The performance is meant to hit home in time when more and more families are dealing with the impacts of mental illnesses — UVU’s 4th annual Mental Health Symposium, held in January 2013, highlighted the fact that individual cases of depression are on the rise nationally. The issue is also of significant concern in Utah. This musical performance aims to create a cathartic experience for those who deal with mental illness.

The cast for the play is made up entirely of students from UVU’s School of the Arts. This particular production will use an official version the play, which was edited by the authors for content.

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