Next To Normal
Phoenix Players presents
Next To Normal

8 Jul 2016 to 23 Jul 2016

Next to Normal is a contemporary family drama, about a woman’s struggle with mental illness, and the effects of her illness on her family.

At the opening of the show, Diana seems to have an ideal life – she is educated, well-off, and happily married with two teenage children. But it soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems.

Diana has bipolar disorder, plagued with anxieties, mood swings and delusions that trace back to a family tragedy 16 years earlier and are growing worse with time. During the course of the show, Diana attends a series of doctors appointments and treatments, in response to and sometimes triggering the ups and downs of her illness.

Under the care of her primary doctor, Dr. Madden, Diana takes medication, talks through her issues and problems, and undergoes the more controversial option of electroconvulsive therapy.

Meanwhile, her husband Dan confronts his own confusion and depression; daughter Natalie deals with isolation and a budding romance with a fellow music student, Henry; and son Gabe serves as Diana’s confidante and link to a happier past.

Though the family strives to establish some sort of normality, and each character seeks his or her own peace and happiness, the ties that bind slowly and inexorably unravel around them.

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Creatives Kelda McMannus Kelda McMannus
Director
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Cast Actor Janelle McMenamin
Diana

Janelle most recently performed the role of Kate/Lilli in Queanbeyan Players production of Kiss Me, Kate (having previously performed the role of Lois/Bianca for Phoenix Players/Papermoon). 

Janelle earned a CAT Award nomination for her portrayal of Milly in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and then went on to perform lead and supporting roles in many other theatre productions such as Grizabella in Free Rain’s CATS and the French femme fatale Paula Abagnale in Dramatic Productions’ staging of Catch Me If You Can as well as performing in two major productions - Mary Poppins (Winifred Banks u/s) for Free Rain, at The Canberra Theatre followed by Jesus Christ Superstar - the Arena Spectacular (Soul Sister) at the AIS Arena.

Two more recent favourites include the lead roles of Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! and Diana in Phoenix Player’s critically acclaimed production of Next to Normal. 

Other theatre roles include Titanic: The Musical (Kate Murphy), Les Miserablés (Fantine u/s), Return to the Forbidden Planet (Satellite Sister), Tarantara, Tarantara (Rose Hervey), Eurobeat (Estelle LeCroix), Chicago (Sassy Sinner), Jazz Garters (Soloist), Showtune(Soloist), Oliver!, CATS (Exotica) as well as originating the roles of Eve and Cleopatra in Sevenonesix’s production of Department of Heaven.

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