Octopus Productions brings production of rock musical ‘Next to Normal’

LIMA — Octopus Productions brings a pop rock musical to Lima with its show, “Next to Normal,” today through Sunday at the Martha Farmer Theatre at OSU-Lima.

This is the third show that Octopus Productions has produced in Lima. They were responsible for “Cabaret” and “Shadows of Poe.” This show takes on a more serious note, dealing with mental illness.

“I guess you can say that we are trying to pick shows that are offer some things to think about. You can go to the theater to escape certainly with a lighthearted show, but you can also go to the theater to think and to really experience something powerful and those are the kind of shows we’re selecting,” said Shannon Wannemacher, of Octopus Productions.

“Next to Normal” opened on Broadway in April 2009 and was nominated for 11 Tony Awards. It won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

“It’s not even really based on any one person or one story. It’s kind of any person any family’s story, I think. Mental illness is something that isn’t commonly discussed, it’s something that people feel that can’t talk about if they or a family member is struggling with it. Our goal with this is to just shed some light on the topic and spark a discussion. I think because it has modern music in it, it’s like a modern story,” said Wannemacher. “It is cool, and what I also really like is kind of how it dives into different family members perspective, like the way that they’re dealing with it. So, yes it is about the mother who is struggling with bipolar disorder, but it’s about her husband and he’s trying to hold the family together and the daughter who is struggling with anger issues and feeling like she doesn’t have a real relationship with her mom. So it’s like really anyone can relate to it because all perspectives seem to be covered.”

The musical is filled with different genres of music.

“There’s not just rock music, there’s a little bit of that, the rest of it is very much pop based. There’s more folksier tunes in there, there’s some jazz, kind of a little bit of something for everyone. I know that’s kind of an overused thing, but in this case it’s absolutely true,” said Wannemacher.

Sara Chongson plays the role of Diana Goodman, a wife and mother who struggles with bipolar disorder in the musical “Next to Normal” at the Martha Farmer Theatre on the campus of OSU-Lima.

From left, Will Goodwin, Sara Chongson, Quintin Bouillon and Sydney Hartford play a family struggling with a member diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the musical “Next to Normal.”

Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511

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