Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, announces casting for its upcoming production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal, with music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, directed by Tony Award winner David Cromer (The Band’s Visit) and music directed by Andra Velis Simon Next to Normal runs May 8 – June 16, 2019 in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe.

The cast of Next to Normal includes: Kyrie Courter (Natalie Goodman), Alex Levy (Henry), Liam Oh (Gabe Goodman), Gabriel Ruiz (Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine), David Schlumpf (Dan Goodman), and Keely Vasquez (Diana Goodman).

On the outside, The Goodmans seem like the average American family: house in the suburbs, white picket fence and two sharp-witted kids. But inside, their lives are anything but normal, with long-buried secrets that threaten to tear them apart. Featuring powerful lyrics and an electrifying score, this explosive musical uses wry humor and brutal honesty to explore how family trauma can fracture the American Dream, while ultimately leading to a chance at new beginnings.

This deeply moving and captivating American musical took Broadway by storm in 2009, winning three Tony awards and the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Now, Chicago and Broadway director David Cromerreturns to WT, where he has directed A Streetcar Named Desire and Picnic, to bring his singularly personal touch to this modern musical where the lines between reality and delusion are never quite clear.

The creative team for Next to Normal includes: Ellen Morris (Assistant Music Director), Regina Garcia (Scenic Designer), Rachel Anne Healy (Costume Designer), Keith Parham (Lighting Designer), Ray Nardelli (Sound Designer), Bobby Kennedy (Dramaturg), Nick Moran (CFM Contractor), Ethan Deppe (Keyboard Programmer), Lili-Anne Brown (Associate Director), and Rebecca Pechter (Production Stage Manager).

Single tickets for Next to Normal, priced $35 – $80, will be available in March 2019 at www.writerstheatre.org, by phone at 847-242-6000, or in person at the box office at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe.

About the Cast

Kyrie Courter (Natalie Goodman) makes her Writers Theatre debut. Chicago credits include: Marie Christine (Jeff nominated for Performer in a Principal Role, BoHo Theatre), Legally Blonde (Paramount Theatre), Seussical (Drury Lane Theatre), Company (Venus Cabaret Theater), BLKS (Steppenwolf Theatre), Thaddeus & Slocum (Lookingglass Theatre Company), DreamgirlsApplause, Babes In Arms (Porchlight Music Theatre), The Wiz and Little Fish (Kokandy Productions). 

Alex Levy (Henry) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Alex is a graduate from the School of Theatre and Dance at Illinois State University with a B.A. in Acting. Recent theatrical credits include Hair (Metropolis Performing Arts Centre), HamletTwelfth Night, Peter and the Starcatcher and Rodeo (Illinois Shakespeare Festival). TV credits include appearances on Chicago Fire (NBC) and Empire (FOX).

Liam Oh (Gabe Goodman) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Liam is currently a freshman at Northwestern University studying theater and music. He was a 2018 YoungArts Finalist in Theater and semifinalist for the Presidential Scholar for the Arts. Favorite credits include: Chip in The 25th… Spelling Bee, Clyde in Bonnie and Clyde (Actor’s Training Center) and Ren in Footloose (New Trier High School).

Gabriel Ruiz (Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine) returns to Writers Theatre where he previously music directed and composed original music for Vietgone, and appeared in Arcadia andCompany. Gabriel is a proud ensemble member of Teatro Vista. Chicago credits include: Cry it Out (Northlight Theatre), You Got Older, The Rembrandt, The Way West, How Long Will I Cry?, The Motherf**ker with the Hat (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Native Gardens (Victory Gardens Theater), Agamemnon, Man in the Ring(Court Theatre), The Wolf atthe End of the Block, White Tie Ball (Teatro Vista), Singin’ in the Rain, City of Angels (Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire), The Upstairs Concierge (Goodman Theatre), Creditors (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company), Sita Ram (Chicago Children’s Choir), Working (Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place) Richard III,Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream(Chicago Shakespeare Theater) and Arabian Nights(Lookingglass Theatre Company). Regional credits include:Native Gardens (Cincinnati Playhouse), Harvey (Milwaukee Repertory Theater), Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them (Forward Theater Company) and Blood and Gifts (Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts). TV and Film credits include Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Chicago Justice (NBC), APB (Fox), Electric Dreams (Channel 4) and Boss (Starz). 

David Schlumpf (Dan Goodman) returns to Writers Theatre, where he previously appeared in Days Like Today. David recently moved to DC and is thrilled to come home to Chicago for this extraordinary show, director, and cast. Other Chicago credits include Steven Kodaly in She Loves Me,Magaldi in Evita(Marriott Theatre),Sense & Sensibility(World Premiere), Timon of Athens(featuring Ian McDiarmid), As You Like It (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Dartmoor Prison(Goodman Theatre), Captain Walker in The Who’s Tommy(Paramount Theatre), Sidney in Sweet Smell of Success(Jeff Award for Best Actor, Kokandy Productions) and Nehemiah in Dessa Rose(Jeff Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, Bailiwick Chicago). DC credits: Buddy in Elf and Billis in South Pacific(Olney Theatre). David holds an MFA in Acting from Roosevelt University, Chicago College of Performing Arts and a BFA in Musical Theatre from University of Florida.

Keely Vasquez (Diana Goodman) makes her Writers Theatre debut. Keely Vasquez is a Chicago-based actor, singer, voice-over artist and teacher. Most recently she was seen in Porchlight Music Theatre’s productions of Merrily We Roll Along and In The Heights. Other Chicago theatrical credits include shows at Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, Mercury Theatre and The Broadway Playhouse. For nearly a decade, she toured the US and Europe singing with Barry Manilow and was featured on more than twenty television shows as well as seven DVD specials.


For more than 25 years, Writers Theatre has captivated Chicagoland audiences with inventive interpretations of classic work, a bold approach to contemporary theatre and a dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible.

Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers Theatre has grown to become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called the top regional theatre in the nation by The Wall Street Journal. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of more than 60,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry—providing the finest interpretations of both classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues.

In February 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility. This established the company’s first permanent home—a new theatre center in downtown Glencoe, designed by the award-winning, internationally renowned Studio Gang Architectsled by Founder and Design Principal Jeanne Gang, FAIA, in collaboration with Theatre Consultant Auerbach Pollock Friedlander. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to continue to grow to accommodate its audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy. The new facility resonates with and complements the Theatre’s neighboring Glencoe community, adding tremendous value to Chicagoland and helping to establish the North Shore as a premier cultural destination.

Find Writers Theatre on Facebook at Facebook.com/WritersTheatre, follow @WritersTheatre on Twitter or @Writers_Theatre on Instagram. For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org.