Patti & Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance Department of TheatreCollege of Liberal Arts

Next to Normal Bios and Notes

Designer's Notes

Costume Design / Erin Carignan
Next to Normal (2008) is a musical by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt, about the price we pay in order to love. Costumes will use modern silhouettes and color to represent Diana’s love throughout her struggle with mental illness and loss. As Diana’s struggles affect those she loves, their costumes will take on colors similar to Diana’s color- a burgundy purple. After Diana has a final dance with her son, and as she breaks connections to memories of her love for him with ECT, costume colors fade to greyed versions representing faded memories. These colors eventually level out to clear blues and browns, with hints of Diana’s burgundy, as the family begins to heal.

Musical Director / Jaime Cohen
The score of Next to Normal establishes a modern, eclectic setting by drawing from various musical genres including traditional musical theater, folk, rock, and pop (there’s even a number with a tempo marking labeled “Thrasher” – this isn’t your grandparents’ Broadway musical, folks!) The small orchestra, performed in our production by Purdue student musicians, reflects this stylistic flexibility by combining typical pop-rock instruments such as guitar, bass, drums, and synth/keyboard with the lush, contemporary application of violin and cello. The score is as vocally demanding as a rock concert, requiring the men to sing in a relatively high register, and the women to belt on a regular basis. Once you hear it, you’ll understand why Next to Normal won the Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations.

Scenic Design/Tianshu Liu
Next to Normal is a complex, impressive and multi-scene musical. As such, the adage “Less is More” is appropriate to our scheme of production. The design intends to focus more on the spiritual world of the protagonist, Diana, instead of creating a real world. After tragedy strikes, Diana’s world loses all color; therefore, the entire stage design is presented in white, black and grey. We will use other colorful imagery to portray Diana’s struggles. The colored images are beautiful, but not truthful, as Diana sees this world, no matter how beautiful, is not the world she has always had. Different levels are an essential element in the design in order to present the various locales. These levels will be mounted inside of tubular cages, as the characters in the play are struggling in their own spiritual world, like being imprisoned by a cage.

Sound Design / Zack Bennett
The music of next to normal provides the audience insight into Diana’s manic-depressive psychology through swings in style, mass, and instrumentation. As an audience, we experience Diana’s manic swings through large, loud, bass-heavy rock numbers such as You Don't Know we also experience her depression and delusions through the majestic, orchestra sounds in I Dreamed a Dance. Sit back and enjoy as the music takes us on the Goodman’s journey to navigate life, grief, and love.

Who's Who on the Production Team

Kristine Holtvedt (Director) is an associate professor of theatre and coordinator of the performance area. Purdue directing credits: The Sins of Sor Juana, The Crucible, Into the Woods, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Importance of Being Earnest. Big Love, The Gut Girls, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, and Arcadia. As an Artistic Associate at The Aux Dog Theatre Nob Hill, in Albuquerque, NM, she directed Venus in Fur, which the Albuquerque Journal voted as “Best Production of 2013.” She also directed a number of original plays at NYC’s Circle Repertory Company’s LAB Theatre and directed at George Street Playhouse, Princeton Repertory Theatre Company, Atlantic Theatre Festival and Levin Theatre Company. As an Actor’s Equity Association member, Kristine has appeared off-Broadway, at Princeton Repertory Company, St. Nicholas Theatre, Actors Repertory Company, the Toronto Fringe Festival, as “Mother Jones” in the original play, Threadheads at the Indiana Repertory Theatre and as “Kate” in Sylvia at The Phoenix Theatre. Her favorite roles on the Purdue stage have been: “Judith Bliss” in Hay Fever and “Big Mama” in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Kristine studied acting with William Esper in New York City and received her Master of Fine Arts in Directing from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Erin Carignan’s (Costume Designer) professional experience is comprised of 13 years in professional theatre, opera, music videos, film, and styling, include credits as costume designer, stylist, textile artist, and crafts artisan. She has worked for several theatre companies, most notably Old Globe Theatre, Los Angeles Opera, La Jolla Playhouse, and Pioneer Theatre. A USA 829 IATSE Costume Designer, Erin continues to design costumes professionally as well as publish works on textile art and modification. She is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Costume Design at Purdue University.

Jaime Cohen (Musical Director) A life-long lover of musical theater, Jaime Cohen has been playing piano in pit orchestras since 2010. She received her BA degrees in Music and Anthropology from Kenyon College, where she accompanied student productions of 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Urinetown, Ordinary Days, and bare: a pop opera, as well as three musical cabarets.

In the spring of 2018, she received her MM in Vocal Coaching and Accompanying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As an accompanying assistant with Lyric Theatre @ Illinois, she played for She Loves Me, Don Giovanni, The Light in the Piazza, and Hansel and Gretel. Previous music director credits include [title of show] at the Allerton Barn Music Festival, The Mystery of Edwin Drood with Wheaton Drama, and The Last Five Years semi-staged for a degree recital.

After Next to Normal, she will be returning to Pittsburgh to accompany the Grétry opera Zémireet Azor at Carnegie-Mellon University, where she will be pursuing an Advanced Music Certificate in Collaborative Piano.

Jinqiu Max He (Properties Master) is passionate about her second year in the MFA program in Scenic Design. After designing Clybourne Park last season and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark in September, she continues to expand her horizons in Next to Normal. She is always grateful to learn more. She’d like to work in the professional field in her home country of China in the future.

Kathleen Hickey (Choreographer), a native Chicagoan, is a choreographer, dancer and teacher. Currently based in West Lafayette, Indiana, her work has been seen throughout Chicago (The Spare Room, Links Hall, Hamlin Park, South Shore Cultural Center, Ebenezer Lutheran Church, Fasseas Whitebox Theatre), Milwaukee (Mitchell Hall, Kenilworth Studios), New York (Gibney Dance), Minneapolis (Bryant Lake Bowl), New Jersey (The Grounds for Sculpture) and the Indianapolis region (Wabash College, Anderson University, Purdue University). She has performed in works by director Rebecca Holderness at the New York Drama League, in New York City, choreographer Brandi Coleman at Mitchell Hall in Milwaukee, WI, and director Joel Ebarb at the Kampa Museum Campus, in Prague in the Czech Republic. Hickey holds a B.A. in Political Science from Purdue University and an M.F.A. in Dance and Performing Arts from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and currently a Lecturer in the Division of Dance at Purdue University's School of Design, Art, and Performance.

Marilyn Wood (Stage Manager) is a junior majoring in computer science and minoring in theatre design and production. At Purdue Theatre, she was previously an assistant stage manager on Secret in the Wings, The Mousetrap, and Clybourne Park. This is her first show as a stage manager. She is very grateful to have been able to work with such an amazing team on a truly beautiful show.

Molly Bader (Assistant Director) has a BA in Theatre from Buffalo State College. Purdue credits include The Beaux’ Stratagem, The Mousetrap, The Glass Menagerie, The Secret in the Wings, and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.

Tianshu Liu (Scenic Design) graduated from the University of Essex (Production Design) and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Acting). She has designed 27 productions for theatre and opera in China, Singapore and United States. She is a second-year Scenic Design graduate student. She designed The Beaux’ Stratagem last year for Purdue Theatre. She plans to work in the field of both theatre and film.

Zack Bennett (Sound Design) is in the second year of his Sound Design MFA training with Purdue Theatre. Zack would like to thank his mentor Rick Thomas for his support and guidance. Zack would also like to thank his wife, family, and the sound team, for their support. Purdue Theatre: Clybourne Park (Sound Designer). Regional: Around the World in 80 Days (Associate Sound Designer), This is Our Youth (Sound Designer). Corporate: 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree (Associate Sound Designer), 2018 National Order of the Arrow Conference (Associate Sound Designer.

Who's Who in the Cast

Carly Christensen (Diana) was recently in Clybourne Park (Bev/Kathy), The Beaux' Stratagem (Kate Sullen), and The Mousetrap (Miss Casewell). Previous favorite projects include bobrauschenbergamerica (Susan), The Trojan Women (Cassandra), and an aerial dance performance Meanderings of a Lost Mind. Carly, originally from the PNW, loves powerlifting, fitness, and puns. At her alma mater, Carly served as an R.A., managed a coffee shop, and was a member of the A Cappella and choir communities. Training: M.F.A (2019) from Purdue U. and B.A. from Willamette U.

Costadina Buelna (Understudy) is a sophomore studying Acting and Political Science. She was previously a servant/female understudy for The Beaux' Stratagem and Christine Schoenwalder in Picnic. She would like to thank her family and friends for their endless love and support.

Erica Colarusso (Natalie) is a third-year undergraduate Theatre major. Recent credits: The Sins of Sor Juana (Purdue Theatre) and Godspell (Theatre for Christ). She interned at the Indiana Repertory Theatre this summer and currently interns at the Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette. Erica thanks Kristine, Molly, Jaime, the designers, crew, and cast for bringing this story to life and for the unforgettable memories. She also thanks God, her family, and friends. Enjoy the show!

Jackson Janowicz (Understudy) is a sophomore at Purdue studying Acting and Philosophy. His recent Purdue Theatre credits include Daniel in The Beaux' Stratagem and Alan Seymour in Picnic. Jackson would like to thank his family, friends, and teachers for their constant support.

Kaiden Pilkenton (Gabe) is beyond excited to be performing in his Purdue Theatre production. He is an Industrial Engineering major pursuing an acting certificate, and he is very grateful for the warm welcome from the entire cast and crew. He would like to specifically thank his family for always giving their constant love and support. Enjoy the show!

Kenneth England (Understudy) is a third-year acting graduate student. He graduated with his bachelor’s from Calvary University. He was previously in The Beaux’ Stratagem, The Mousetrap, The Secret in the Wings, Glass Menagerie, and Clybourne Park.

Mackenzie Zorn (Understudy) is a sophomore studying Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, whilst also pursuing an Acting Certificate. Past credits with Purdue Theatre include The Beaux’ Stratagem (Dorinda) and Clybourne Park (Betsy/Lindsey). Special thanks to the cast, crew, and her family!

Mason McLary (Dr. Fine/ Dr. Madden) is ecstatic to be a member of Next to Normal! You may have previously seen him in Cabaret (Ernst Ludwig), The Mousetrap (Major Metcalf), and The Beaux' Stratagem (Sir Charles Freeman). This will be Mason's final show at Purdue University. He thanks all his friends and family for their incredible support.

Matthew J. Duncan (Henry) is a University of Central Arkansas graduate and MFA student at Purdue. He was last seen at Purdue as Von Oster/Peter Rhys-Davies in By the Way, Meet Vera Stark. Regional affiliations include Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, Shake on the Lake (NY), PETC (Northwest AR), and Foundlings Theatre (Chicago). Boiler Up, Y'all.

Wyndham Maxwell (Dan) graduated from Clark University in 2014, after which he worked for two years as a theatre artist in the Boston area. He is excited to return as a third year MFA actor at Purdue, where he has performed in The Secret in the Wings; Cabaret; The Glass Menagerie; The Mousetrap; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; The Sins of Sor Juana; and Clybourne Park.

PRODUCTION STAFF
Producer……………………………………… Anne Fliotsos
Production Manager ………………………… Rich Dionne
Asst. Production Manager…………….......… Fritz Bennett
Asst. Stage Managers.................................. Madeleine Brown, Kellie Hageman
Set Designer................................................ Shu Liu
Technical Designer....................................... Zack Kobalenko
Charge Artist................................................ Jake Wood
Deck Carpenter ……………………………… Malena Tipton
Master Electrician .……………………………Baxter Chambers
Assistant Master Electrician ……………….. Brady Alumbaugh
Light Board Operator.……………………….. Sophia Isabella Holt-Wilson
Asst. Costum Designer................................ Caroline Rein
Asst. Lighting Designer................................ Jessica Lin
Associate Sound Designer.......................... Jeff Sherwood
Asst. Sound Designer.................................. Kavin Na
Production Sound Designer......................... AJ Trent
Asst. Production Sound Designer................ Adam Lewis
Sound Board Operator................................. Adam Lewis
Follow Spot Operator................................... Rachel Dexter
Monitor Engineer......................................... Jeremy Steiner-Otoo
Wireless Mic Technician.............................. Bryce Lemert
Production Assistants.................................. Hugh Bromund, Amelia Armstrong, KC McNeil, Isabella Campis, Joey Andrews, Tristan Yan

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