The Towle Theater knows how to put on a play / musical. The directing, acting, lighting, stage, and now the young musicians in the back corner, were all great this evening. I really have to thank all of the sponsors of the Towle Theater up front. This Theater is so wonderful in talent and directing, and at the same time so obscure that NW Indiana would not be the same if sponsors and patrons did not step forward to support the Arts. Towle Theater has given me a new dimension in my life. One that I cherish, and thank all for making it happen.
What is Normal? Is Normal real? Can there ever be a Normal? Maybe Next To Normal is as close as we will ever get . . . we will find out.
Let me first introduce you to the cast, starting with their character name first:
Diana, starting the morning off with her meds . . .
So everyone sits down at the table for supper while Diana is off with her new colorful life and what one might perceive as the normal home.
Diana is packed, leaving to find herself. Lack of trust was probably behind this decision. Dan, now switching places with Diana . . .
This musical is pretty cool, and all because of the casting and directing. It starts as a normal family life. At least normal as I define it. You then begin to see that the family really does not understand most of the time what Diana does. You begin to ask, "well what / who is normal here and who is not?"
Mary Kay who played Diana was excellant. She played normal as normal could be, yet also put you in left field far from normal. Her vocal, and acting, were superb.
I really enjoyed the casting of Andrew for this role of "Gabe". He played it so well, making you think he was real at the beginning, then making you realize he is the torment in everyone's mind at the end.
Mollyanne who played Natalie was gorgeous in acting and voice throughout the musical. Todd who played Henry, made the acts real, warming, making you wish you could follow in his foot steps. Thinking your life would be more normal if you did, even though at first you were made to believe his was not. And, he gets the girl at the end . . . so I choose to believe.
Kevin who played Dan has been solid every time I have seen him. He had some exceptional moments in vocal, and when you think of it, changing emotions throughout the musical, he kept his sanity . . . maybe.
Tyler who played both Dr.'s Fine and Madden had some very good moments in vocal and acting as well. During rehearsal of all things, I did not realize the doctors were played by the same person. Kudos . . .
The musicians were great! And I mean Great! Might I add, it would be cool to see the group of them perform acoustically at Paul Henry's. Here are their names and some photos . . .
At this time I would like to mention that the set and lighting were spectacular. The multi-function panels, lighting upstairs and downstairs, were all perfect. Though as a photographer I struggled, as a member of the audience it filled my view perfectly.
Obviously, at least to me, a special thanks always has to go out to Jeff Casey. I now realize what it takes, at least to my extent, to put on a play / musical. Jeff is always looking ahead, never settling for OK.
Life is hard. For some it can be more so. For me though I have had hard times, in comparison to this musical my life seems simplistic. You cannot help but feel the desire to want to help the characters of this musical, to step in, make life better. Though at the same time understanding there is nothing you can do yourself except be there. To feel that, and understand that, gives credit to the writing of this musical, and the directing and acting at the Towle Theater.
So what is Normal? Each of us should define it differently. As a whole, you can set guidelines. However individually, how can anybody be normal? What do you see in life? Do you see shades of grey or wonderful colors? Can you see colors with or without psychoactive drugs? Who is setting the standard?
We quantify, classify, catagorize, generalize peoples behaviors to aid in analyzing. All because somewhere along the line a behavior has been pigeon holed as unacceptable, derived by a society as a whole, that individually none of us can live up to because we are human. Yet we still do not tolerate extremes. Perhaps this is the only definition of Normal. Being next to it, away from the extremes.
I do implore you to go see this or any other play / musical at the Towle Theater. We have talent in our own back yard that we do not know exists, unless we go see for ourselves and spread the word.
Wes' lessons learned: Tighten your eye glasses so they do not fall apart in the middle of photo shoot, because photographing blind is scary . . . thanks to technologies auto focus! Explore all that can be explored. I missed some good opportunities by not going up into the seating to take photographs.
If you desire, check out my blog on Ordinary Days and The 39 Steps at the Towle Theater.
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