Summer Stories Returns to Summer Stage with Next to Normal

Upper Darby Summer Stage proudly presents Next to Normal as this year’s 2023 Summer Stories production. Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Next to Normal focuses on what appears to be a typical American suburban family going about their everyday lives only to discover they’re coping with a crisis.

Performances are approximately 2.5 hours long, with a 15-minute intermission, and will take place on July 31 and August 1 at 7:00pm in the Choir Room, just through the Performing Arts Center. All shows will be performed before a live audience. Show content is advised for ages 16 and up (themes & depictions of mental illness, profanity, and discussions about self-harm). Entry is free, with a suggested $10 donation at the door. Parking is free.

Next to Normal highlights a typical American family where everything is normal. Or anything but. Diana (Monica Fischer of Springfield), the family’s matriarch, has been struggling with bipolar disorder for 16 years and things are only getting worse. Her restless and overachieving daughter Natalie (Caroline Borio of Plymouth Meeting) is wrapped up in a whirlwind of her own anxieties, compounded by her confusion over a budding relationship with classmate Henry (Kenny Bruce of Drexel Hill). Meanwhile, Diana’s husband Dan (Scott Berkowitz of Havertown) grapples with depression while simultaneously dealing with the impact of his family’s struggles. Next to Normal provides an unfiltered look into the struggle of those dealing with mental illness while reminding us all at the end of the day, there will be light.

Director Chris Monaco remarks, “I want people to come with an open mind and be ready to just live in the show for a while. This is something we were talking about when it comes to staging in the round; this experience is going to feel like a ride. Once you’re in there, you’re living it with the characters, and I think that feels right for this show.”

Cast member Scott Berkowitz says, “I hope audiences take away that it’s okay to hurt at times, as long as you are making an effort to get better. It’s not about being good, it’s about trying to be better than you were the day before. That, I think, is the most important thing about this show. By the end of it every character, although they’re not in a great spot at the moment, has an idea of what will help.”

Now in its second year, Summer Stories is an exciting initiative that brings Broadway style musicals to life in a concert style format. These productions, staged with minimal technical elements, invite our audiences to experience new stories unlikely to be seen on the Mainstage in an exciting new setting. For more information about Next to Normal and Summer Stage’s 48th season, visit The Box Office can be reached at 610-814-7270.

Upper Darby Summer Stage is grateful to partner with McDonald’s, the sponsor of Next to Normal. Summer Stage would also like to thank its education sponsors Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast High School, and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for their support. Summer Stage 2023 is also supported through sponsor and host, Upper Darby School District, as well as founding sponsor, Upper Darby Township. Upper Darby Summer Stage is now officially a program of the not-for-profit Upper Darby Arts & Education Foundation.

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