Tony-winner Alice Ripley to star in 'Next to Normal' tour [Updated]
Alice Ripley is officially taking her Tony-winning performance as a mentally disturbed housewife in "Next to Normal" to theaters around the country.
The actress will star in the national tour of "Next to Normal," which kicks off at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles in November. The rest of the touring cast hasn't been confirmed yet.
Michael Greif, who directed the Broadway version, will also direct the tour.
Ripley is currently starring in the Broadway production of the show, which opened at the Booth Theatre in April 2009. The production previously played at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and off-Broadway at Second Stage. Ripley's final Broadway performance in the show will be July 18.
"Next to Normal" was the controversial winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for drama. The production also won Tony awards for its original score by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, and for its orchestrations.
The musical will kick off at the Ahmanson on Nov. 28 and will run through Jan. 2, 2011. The show will then travel to San Diego, where it will play at the Balboa Theatre from Jan. 18 to 23, 2011. Other cities on the tour include Seattle; Des Moines; Providence, R.I.; Hartford, Conn.; Pittsburgh; St. Louis; St. Paul, Minn.; Cleveland; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; and Charlotte, N.C.
Ripley is no stranger to L.A. theater audiences. In 2007, she starred in Michael John LaChiusa's "Little Fish" at the Blank Theatre. She also performed in a revival of "The Who's Tommy" at the Montalban Theatre in 2008.
[Updated] “I feel strongly about bringing ['Next to Normal'] to everyone out there in the country who didn't get to see it on Broadway,” said Ripley in a phone interview.
The actress said that her character Diana has become part of her life. “I discovered that the best way to play her is to live with her a little bit all the time,” she said. “I couldn't have figured her out in six weeks or six months. It took a year to figure her out.”
-- David Ng
Photo: Alice Ripley, with Aaron Tveit and J. Robert Spencer in "Next to Normal." Credit: Seth Wenig / Associated Press