For over two decades, Pauper Players and Company Carolina have provided students the opportunity to participate in every aspect of theater production.
Pauper Players produces a student-run musical every fall and spring. This year, the group is collaborating with Company Carolina on its spring musical.
On Friday, students will begin performances of their version of “Next to Normal,” a musical about a mother with bipolar disorder and the impact her illness has on her and her family. The 2008 musical's book and lyrics are by Brian Yorkey, with music by Tom Kitt.
The show will debut at the Varsity Theatre and run a total of four shows between March 24 and March 26. The production is made up of only six actors and 15 crew members.
Emma Clements, a senior and producer, said the meaning behind the musical’s title poses questions about family relationships.
“There's kind of a through line of ‘Is there such a thing as ‘normal’ as far as families go?’” she said. “Sometimes, 'Next to Normal' is the best thing that you can get, and it’s the best thing for your family, and there truly is no normal family.”
Clements said the musical was selected last summer and rehearsals have been going on since auditions were held in January. The groups chose "Next to Normal" because of the musical's focus on mental health, she said.
“There's a big emphasis in the show that we should take care of ourselves and seek help, but we should also be allowed to embrace our emotions and how we feel and all of those things are also valid,” she said.
Victoria Danielik, a senior and assistant director, said adjustments had to be made to the set due to the venue, but that it allowed for more creativity in set and lighting design.