Prize-winning drama exposes suburbia’s veneer

Panic Productions will present “Next To Normal,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, through June 17 at Hillcrest Center for the Arts, 403 W. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks.

Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.

The play explores how one suburban household copes with crisis and mental illness. Dad’s an architect. Mom rushes to pack lunches and pour cereal. Their daughter and son are bright, wisecracking teens.

While they appear to be a typical American family, their lives are anything but normal because the mother has been battling manic depression for 16 years.

“Next to Normal” was nominated for 11 Tony Awards and won three, including Best Musical Score. It also won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize, becoming the eighth musical in history to receive the honor.

The production is directed by Corey Lynn Howe with musical direction by Jan Roper.

The cast members are: Michelle Lane, Brent Ramirez, Julia Lester, Renee Cohen, Landen Starkman and Daniel Bellusci.

Panic Productions, founded in 2011 by Paul Panico and Robert Weibezahl, is a nonprofit community theater troupe.

General admission tickets are $28; student and senior tickets are $22. VIP Experience tickets of $40 include second- and third-row seating, early seating and swag bag.

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