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January 21, 2012

1

magic, passion, madness

by Andrea O'Connell

The writer, Henry James wrote:

We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have.  Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task.  The rest is the madness of art.

Although spoken by one of Henry James’s characters, these words were also his personal credo.  James truly feared his work would forever stay in the dark, forgotten.

After the release of a few of his novels, namely Portrait of a Lady (1881), he released many more short and full-length novels, but few were popular.  He knew criticism more than he knew acceptance of his writing.   Of course, after his death, in 1916, at age 72, he is now revered as the master he always was.

This Henry James quote reminds me of the theatre – working in the theatre.  It’s all passion and madness and love, it is not always a normal life when one lives it.  But, it is love and passion.  And so is the brilliant musical I saw last night. 

Next to Normal is one of those experiences that, if it grabs you, as it did me, it’s bound to hold you for a lifetime. 

The show was chilling and lovely and scary and electric and I couldn’t speak when it ended.

Tears dripped on my blouse down to my lap, wetting my theatre program.  I wasn’t the only one crying.  Maybe I was the only one with out a tissue, though, but a kind woman gave me one of the cocktail napkins she held on to.

I don’t want to give away any part of the story – if you have a chance to see it, you’ll want to be surprised.  It’s best to see it without any preconceptions.  It will add to the magic for you, like it did for me.

I grew up in the theatre and love the magic and the passion and the madness and the love that is beyond words when a great play hits you in the gut.

There are a few musicals that will never leave me.   I’ve seen many, but cling to a few; Next to Normal is one of those – probably the best among all the greats I’ve seen.

It’s like the musical Rent, edgy, amazing and now.  It’s rock and roll and light opera and psychology and slice of life – all in one incredibly structured and fluid and dynamic powerful package.

Next to Normal, is playing for four weeks at the Miracle Theatre, in Coral Gables, Florida.  (By the way, I was in the inaugural show, A Thousand Clowns, which opened the Miracle Theatre!  picture below!)

Next to Normal is also touring across the Unites States.  Catch it if you can – you’ll be so glad you dd.

There’s a reason why it won the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award in 2009.

That's Me in the play "A Thousand Clowns" at the Miracle Theatre!

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1 Comment Post a comment
  1. columbibueno
    Jan 21 2012

    Thanks for this! Will go see it.

    Reply

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