Arachnophonia : Next To Normal

Editor’s note: Arachnophonia is a regular feature on our blog where members of the UR community can share their thoughts about resources from the Parsons Music Library‘s collection.

All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia is by student worker Danny (class of 2023) and features vocal selections from the 2008 musical Next To Normal. Thanks, Danny!

Next To Normal

Next to Normal

The item spotlighted in today’s edition of Arachnophonia is titled, Vocal Selections from Next to Normal. This musical score of the 2008 smash hit musical Next to Normal featuring Aaron Tveit and Alice Ripley is a simply stunning piece that has been lucky enough to be purchased and brought into the Parsons Music Library Collection for years to come. Despite only lasting a few years on the big stage, this musical score has warmed the hearts of many even 12 years after its Broadway debut. Its popularity and relevance has garnered enough support as to open a revival at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C earlier this year. However, it was through a friend back home that I had found out about this musical. Sharing her Broadway playlist with me on Spotify, filled with over 1,000 Broadway hits (this number sounds big and yes. It is very big. The run time of the playlist is a few days long), I had come across the song “How Could I Ever Forget,” sung by the character Diana, as she reminisces the day that doctors informed her that her infant son had passed.

Although the lyrics, written by Brian Yorkey and composed by Tom Kitt, were full of raw and intense emotion that could turn you to tears in an instant, I fell in love with the song and the emotion put behind it. So, as any normal human being would do, I heard the entirety of the musical’s score. It moved me to tears, which I admit is hard to do for the most part. The songs were just full of raw emotion and the harmonies between all the characters made the songs super catchy. I played it on repeat for days.

Next to Normal production photo

Alice Ripley, Aaron Tveit, and J. Robert Spencer in Broadway production of Next to Normal – Joan Marcus

One day I just decided that maybe it would be cool if I find the score of some of the songs, play it, and possibly sing along to it. By no means am I a singer (I am so bad), but the ingenuity and the emotion felt behind the song compelled me so much, that I decided to take a stab at it. So, as a normal human being would do, I went to the Boatwright Memorial Library website and searched for my score. Sure enough, the coveted musical score that I so sought was there waiting for me, available under the illustrious call number: M1508.K5 N49 2009. I quickly checked out the score and began to play.

Even to this day, 12 years after its debut, there is something to the pieces that never get old. Although I did not have much time to play the songs since this spring semester has started, I am urging and scratching to find time just to hear myself play the amazing songs brought to us by Yorkey and Kitt. I urge that even if you are not interested in Broadway musicals, to check out the Vocal Selections from Next to Normalbook for a couple weeks, or at least have a listen. Tears will be shed, but it would be the best cry you’ve had in years.

One thought on “Arachnophonia : Next To Normal

  1. I got to see Next to Normal in DC recently and it was so good! My daughter had seen it at Virginia Rep about 7 years ago and she’s been bugging me to see it. The DC cast also featured a few Dear Evan Hansen alums which was a treat for me. The music is really good!

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