So I just wanted to explain my general feelings about Next to Normal.
First things first, AWESOME! Damn, it was really good.
So my first reaction was I found out that J. Robert Spencer would not be playing Dan in this showing, and that his understudy would. This was kind of disappointing, and I had trouble not thinking about it. There was just something off about the vibe of the guy who played Dan in this showing, I just felt like he didn't embody who I had imagined the part was. I almost got some gayish vibes from him at times which seemed really weird considering a lot of the show is about how he is in love with his wife. Meh, I don't know. He wasn't bad, I was just a tiny bit disappointed.
Alice Ripley was expectedly amazing, which almost leaves me with nothing to say about her. I like her voice a lot especially during the more intense passionate songs, and her acting was great.
The rest of the cast were all originals or just great with nothing for me to say about them.
One thing I will say, is that Gabe is a terrifying character. It really doesn't come through in the music, but he is legitimately scary because he is essentially the embodiment of mental illness and suicide.
I think the two songs that I liked more than I expected to were "Didn't I See This Movie?" and "Wish I Were Here". They were both songs I didn't absolutely love on the soundtrack, but after seeing them on stage I really like. They're both really intense rockish songs sung by Alice Ripley that were awesome with the energy live.
I've also come to a decision on something about broadway shows in general. I think it's better to have not heard the soundtrack, or have heard it only once or so when you see a show. The problem is once you've listened to a song a lot, it loses its meaning (for me at least). So during some of the more well known songs like "I'm Alive" or "I Am the One" (and it's reprise) the emotional intensity and context were sort of lost to me just because I knew them so well.
Overall it was a really great show, and I've been thinking about it and listening to it and watching clips of it since I saw it.
It also really made me miss theater. I WANNA BE IN A PLAY OR MUSICAL AGAINN!!!!
Anywho, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UHmaseeujM (It was even better at the show I saw, because she get's pushed towards the Doctor on a Gurney instead of a stairwell)