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Next to Normal

by Brian Yorkey & Tom Kitt

producing artistic director’s notes by Emilia Sargent

We at the Tampa Repertory Theatre are thrilled to have you here with us for our final production of our thirteenth season of creating transformative, relevant, and compelling professional theatre that connects us through meaningful and inspiring shared experiences. We are committed to creative excellence and fostering a welcoming, joyful artistic home.  This season, we have explored identity, both individual and as a community.

This Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical delivers a positive message of hope and resilience in a powerful, moving story about a family struggling to cope with mental illness and grief.

Next to Normal is the center of our ‘Raise the Curtain on Mental Health Awareness’ initiative aimed at bringing together the power of live theatre storytelling and community resources to foster conversation, awareness, and stigma reduction around mental illness. We began with a special performance of In My Own Little Corner: My Work in Progress with Bipolar Disorder presented in partnership with Broadway Arts Community which included a Care Box self-care workshop co-presented by the Patel Conservatory. This initiative seeks to help connect audiences to resources that can help destigmatize the conversation around mental health. TampaRep has partnered with several local organizations and individuals, including the Community Foundation TampaBay, Love IV Lawrence, Tampa Bay Thrives, NAMI Hillsborough, Broadway Arts Community, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, and Dr. Sylvia Carra

Hahn, who have provided various levels and means of support. In addition, the cast and creative team has received mentorship and counseling on topics discussed in the show by the Behavioral Health Consultant, Dr. Lauren Butterfield. TampaRep is committed to taking the NAMI Stigma-Free Company Pledge and providing Mental Health First Aid Training for our team members through the Love IV Lawrence Foundation. We thank our partner organizations for the vital services that they provide and for valuing the importance of live theatre.

We are so pleased to have grant support from Love IV Lawrence and Community Foundation Tampa Bay for our Raise the Curtain initiative, as well as the support of our many sponsors.

It is our vision to become a thriving regional theatre, built on creative excellence and inclusivity, which enhances Tampa as a cultural destination and enriches and reflects our community as an artistic home for all to discover, share, create, and experience meaningful stories. Some of the first steps we have taken in service of this vision include paying artists and designers more, expanding our artistic family, finding ways to make live theatre more accessible to our community, and partnering with other organizations to enhance live theatre in Tampa. We have been able to accomplish these things because of the generous support of our donors and sponsors – audience members from our community like you.

At TampaRep, we create an experience — one that the audience completes — in productions that are innovative, provocative, and classic.

I have wanted to produce this compelling masterpiece of a musical for over a decade. I am grateful to help bring stories to life which communicate and embody the human spirit. Live theatre has the unique power to bring us together in a shared space to co-create stories uninterrupted from start to finish, each time to live just once in its exact iteration. There’s no pause button, no mute, no fast forward, and no going back. We lean forward and breathe together as the story unfolds, fully present together, through to the end. To me, it always feels like a bit of magic. It is a magic that can only happen with you – our audience – to complete the experience.

I invite you to please lean in together to experience Next to Normal.


–      Emilia Sargent, Producing Artistic Director/Director of Next to Normal

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Georgia Mallory Guy