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Tuesday January 19th

A theater experience that is ‘Next to Normal’

	<p>Lisa Jolley, John Allore, Wesley Miller and Abigail Coryell (left to right) rehearse for Deep Dish Theater Company’s production of “Next to Normal” opening tonight in University Mall. </p>
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Lisa Jolley, John Allore, Wesley Miller and Abigail Coryell (left to right) rehearse for Deep Dish Theater Company’s production of “Next to Normal” opening tonight in University Mall.

Chapel Hill-based Deep Dish Theater Company is collaborating with the Town of Cary for its production of “Next to Normal,” a modern musical that shocks its audiences — and characters.

The show’s nearly 40 electrifying songs chronicle the lives of a present-day American mother and her family as they struggle to cope with her mental illness.

SEE THE SHOW

Time: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m. until March 17
Location: University Mall
Info: www.deepdishtheater.org

“It’s such a full and complete theater experience,” said Paul Frellick, director of Deep Dish’s “Next to Normal.”

“The light, sound, music and vocals — all these elements — are at hand in telling the story. This is one of those shows that really hits you where you live.”

The show runs through March 17 at Deep Dish Theater in University Mall.

Afterward, the set will be completely deconstructed and rebuilt at the Cary Arts Center for a short run from March 22 to 24, said Frellick, who is also the founding artistic director of Deep Dish.

“There’s such an immediacy to this show,” Frellick said.

“I think this show will leave the audience with the effect of coming off a roller coaster in an amusement park.”

Wesley Miller, a UNC student who portrays the son in the show, said he has enjoyed working with such a small cast, as the show contains only six characters.

Miller stressed the relevancy of the show for both Chapel Hill and Cary audiences.

“I think the show has a special message. It’s so relevant to the times and the health care industry,” Miller said.

“It deals with the issue of mental illness and puts it into a perspective that an audience will want to see.”

Deep Dish cast the show during the summer and began rehearsing in mid-January, Frellick said.

But initial conversations about the partnership started much earlier, said Sarah Preston, performing arts and operations coordinator for the Cary Arts Center, which is affiliated with the town.

She said Deep Dish contacted the center this time last year with the idea.

“We have a very active community theater, but they usually do more family friendly shows,” Preston said.

“It’s really exciting that we get to bring something so fresh and new and different.”

Frellick said he is looking forward to bringing the show to Cary’s theater, which is much larger than Deep Dish’s 70-seat theater, and he hopes to work with the Cary Arts Center in the future.

“With the energy we’ve all put into this show and our partnership, we hope ‘Next to Normal’ will be the first of many,” Frellick said.

Contact the desk editor at arts@dailytarheel.com.

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