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Two Muses Theatre's 'Next to Normal' Production Benefits Common Ground

The company co-founded by a Farmington Hills resident takes on a Pulitzer Prize-winning musical about a family affected by mental illness.

Two Muses Theatre, co-founded by Farmington Hills resident Barbie Amann Weisserman, will raise funds to help youth, adults and families in crisis during the run of the female-based performing arts company's next production, Next to Normal. 

The Broadway hit premieres June 7 and will be on stage through June 30, at the Two Muses Theatre inside Barnes & Noble Booksellers in West Bloomfield. With music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, the local production is directed by Royal Oak resident Frannie Shepherd-Bates.

Two Muses Theatre will donate $1 from each ticket purchase to Common Ground, a non-profit agency that has been helping those in need for more than 40 years. Common Ground provides crisis intervention and other services to more than 50,000 people each year, with a majority of the services offered free.

Weisserman and Diane Hill of West Bloomfield joined forces in 2011 to create Two Muses Theatre, with a mission to provide opportunities for women in theatre and to promote female artists and artisans. 

Next to Normal, the troupe's first musical, centers on what appears, at first glance, to be a typical American family with two parents and two bright, wise-cracking teens. Yet their lives are anything but normal, because the mother has been battling manic depression for 16 years.

Though the Pulitzer Prize-winning show, recommended for mature audiences, has moments of deep emotion, it’s not a “downer” of an evening.

Next to Normal is an incredibly heart touching musical that brings enlightenment to an issue that is often kept in the shadows,” Amann Weisserman said. “The audience will feel included, uplifted, and clearer about all-encompassing issues with mental illness. It is a warm, careful look at a modern setting with a modern day family and powerful modern music.”

“This show deals with issues that, while they are not always easy to address, affect nearly everyone in some way," Shepherd-Bates said. "Mental illness and family dynamics are complex subjects, and I am looking forward to the challenges of working with a play that, in its beautiful music, provides a unique, honest perspective on a story that is sure to hit home for many audience members. It sure hit home for me.”

Advance tickets are $23 for adults and $18 for students and senior citizens; tickets at the door are $25 and $20. To purchase advance tickets, call 248-850-9919 or visit twomusestheatre.org. For information on discounted group sales, call 248-850-9919.

The opening night performance will be preceded with a Red Carpet Event with live entertainment, and there will be a "Meet and Greet Afterglow" with light appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages.

Source: Two Muses Theatre press release

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