Tonight we got to join an intimate crowd at the 92Y Tribeca for “On Stage with Next to Normal,” a panel discussion with the Tony winning writers Tom Kitt (composer) and Brian Yorkey (Librettist, Lyricist), the show’s director Michael Greif and producer David Stone.
The panel talked about the creation of the show from when it was an idea Kitt and Yorkey had during their first year in the BMI Workshop on through it’s mounting at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and its move to New York’s Second Stage theatre, DC’s Arena Stage and its Broadway opening this past spring.
The discussion included Kitt playing a song that was cut from the show during it’s growth process. We heard “Electricity,” which was a song that Dan sang as part of a flashback showing how he fell in love with Diana. It was a beautiful song, but it was understandable how the song didn’t fit in the current structure of the show. The team also elaborated on the cutting of the song “Feeling Electric” as they moved to DC. Sadly they didn’t play that song, which was song by the doctor to Diana in a hallucination about electroshock therapy.
A highlight of the evening was the debut of a new song called “Something I Can’t See” (you can hear a small clip of it here). The song was written with the help of the show’s Twitter community (@N2NBroadway). The community voted on key things like who would sing the song, where it would go in the show, what the motivations where and ultimately contributed lyric ideas. I’ve been following the creation of the song as well as voting (I didn’t create lyrics, my brain just doesn’t work that way) so it was pretty awesome to attend the song’s premiere. Aaron Tveit (Gabe) and Louis Hobson (Dr. Madden) were on hand to perform the new song. It sounded like it was lifted right out of the show. I can’t wait to get it on my iPod and play it where it would fall in the show. The song will get released as part of the podcast that is being created from the event. It will be fully recorded for an upcoming EP of songs that were cut from earlier versions of the show that will be released at some point in the future.
It was a great evening and really fantastic to hear how such an original musical was created and has been able to thrive on Broadway.