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Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre presents the groundbreaking ‘Next to Normal’

Katrina Carlson has performed in many musicals, from Evita to The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
But, “I’ve never done one like this, where it’s so real and poignant and modern. It’s mind-blowingly beautiful,” she said.

“It” is Next to Normal, the award-winning show that makes its Tri-Cities debut April 21.

Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre is staging the production, with Carlson starring as Diana, matriarch of the Goodman family.

The show deals with trauma, mental illness, grief and loss. It’s also about love, family and hope — and Carlson can hardly wait for opening night.

“It’s the most special show I’ve ever done, which is huge because I’ve loved all my theater experiences,” she said. “I want to share it with everyone.”

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. April 21-22 and 27-29 at the Uptown Theatre, 1300 Jadwin Ave., Richland.

Next to Normal debuted on Broadway in 2009. The rock musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey won three Tony Awards and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

It centers on Diana, her husband, Dan, and their children.

Anna Newbury, who directs the local production, called it “maybe the most integrated piece of musical theater that I’ve ever encountered, in that all the text, music and movement on stage are so deeply interconnected that you can’t understand the show without each of those elements.”

It will take audience members on a journey, Newbury said, adding that “it’s a really beautiful depiction of the human experience.”

Carlson first listened to Next to Normal’s music at the urging of her daughter. “She said, ‘this would be a perfect role for you,’ ” Carlson recalled.

Carlson loved what she heard, but never imagined the show would be staged in the Tri-Cities. When she learned Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre was taking it on, she jumped at the chance to take part.

Along with Carlson, the cast includes Scott Whitemarsh, Katie Evans, Joshua Lee Fox, Tyler Zirker and Sam Shick.

Ben Walley is musical director and Ted Miller is producing.

Carlson grew up singing with her twin sister. But it wasn’t until after she had her kids — her daughter, 20, is a college junior and her son, 18, is finishing high school — that she became a theater regular.

She performed on the west side before moving with her family to the Tri-Cities. She’s taken the stage with just about every local theater group.

A school psychologist in the Richland School District, Carlson said being part of Next to Normal is a special and singular experience.

“It’s never boring. The music is powerful and beautiful. There isn’t one song in the show that doesn’t have meat and value,” she said. “You’re going to be entertained. It’s beautiful and poignant, with a beautiful message. You need to see it because it will enrich your life. It will touch you.”

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $10 for students. They’re available in Richland at Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet and Adventures Underground, and at midcolumbiamusicaltheatre.org.

The show is recommended for mature teens and older.


Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article144527299.html#storylink=cpy

Tri-City Herald Arts & Entertainment
By Sara Schilling April 13, 2017

In the Press

Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre presents the groundbreaking ‘Next to Normal’

Katrina Carlson has performed in many musicals, from Evita to The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
But, “I’ve never done one like this, where it’s so real and poignant and modern. It’s mind-blowingly beautiful,” she said.

Read more ...

Annie Get Your Gun musical opens June 23 in Richland

When Curtis Bearchum takes the stage as Sitting Bull in Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre’s production of Annie Get Your Gun, he won’t be wearing a costume.

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