Being a student, or a young person, isn’t always easy. But fear not. This weekend, Curtain Callers and Peer Health are co-sponsoring the musical, “Next to Normal.” The musical aims to show that nobody is alone when it comes to feeling overwhelmed with the difficulties in one’s life and the world. 

“Next to Normal” is about a mother who struggles with her mental health and the complicated relationships that develop as a result. 

Director and member of Peer Health Marcella Jimenez ’16 said that she hopes that after the Bowdoin community sees the show, they will understand that it is okay to not be okay.
“It will actually be a stronger and healthier community if we can have those conversations about our struggles,” Jimenez said.

Due to difficulties booking a theater space on campus, the show will be presented at the Theater Project on School Street in Brunswick. The idea to partner with the Theater Project was the brainchild of Professor of Theater Davis Robinson.

“Bowdoin is this wonderful place where so many students are incredibly talented and want to do wonderful things,” Jimenez said. “And because of that, there’s a shortage of venues to do those wonderful things, so we hit a lot of walls in terms of places where we could feasibly stage the show.”

“I think that even though it was just by luck that [we’re partnering with the Theater Project], it’s really nice that we can bond with the community in this way,” Musical Director Jae-Yeon Yoo ’18 said. “Having that connection actually makes sense because ‘Next to Normal’ is a lot about community.”

The two directors attributed the idea for putting the show together to Adam Glynn ’17, the show’s producer. 

“It’s been a team effort between the three of us as a production team,” said Jimenez. 
She added that strong communication between each member of the team has been essential to successful rehearsals. 

The two directors also had high praises for their actors and musicians.

“Something that I love about musical theater is that it really does bring together a lot of different groups on campus that you wouldn’t typically find,” said Yoo. According to Yoo, among the actors and pit members are members from a cappella and the Bowdoin Music Collective. 

Jimenez expressed that she had a special connection to the musical. 

When she first became interested in the show, her cousin had just been diagnosed with lung cancer. At the time, she listened to the musical’s soundtrack every day on her way to and from work. 

“My family was dealing with a lot in terms of taking care of him, and so there was a lot of grief and angst around that situation,” she said. “I feel like the musical really helped me process that in a lot of ways.” 

Jimenez added that she hopes the musical will help students reflect on their own difficulties.
“A lot of times we have the pressure of keeping everything together,” she said. “Our life is supposed to be this neat little box, but underneath a lot of that, everybody is a mess, and no one really knows what they’re doing.”

The first performance of “Next to Normal” will take place tonight at 7:30 p.m. There will be two additional showings on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.