I listened to the audio of the EWP’s production of N2N and I love how much having an all Asian cast adds so many little nuances to the story without having to actually change anything, particularly with:
the stigma regarding mental illness in a lot of Asian cultures and how much more painful that makes Diana’s story.
This also adds a whole new layer to the fact that Dan tries to ignore his depression for so many years, in favour of helping Diana.
the whole “all Asians are smart” stereotype in relation to Natalie’s stress over her grades and academic future. It sheds a whole new light on to why she would stress about Yale as much as she does, especially with the fact that a lot of Asian households do value academic success very highly.
the neglect towards Natalie and the focus on Gabe in relation to the elephant in the room about how a lot of Asian cultures still value sons over daughters. This adds an entirely new layer to Natalie’s pain regarding being ignored by her mother and so many lines in Superboy and the Invisible Girl
“He’s a hero, a lover, a prince/She’s not there”
“He’s the one you wish would appear/He’s your hero, forever your son”
“I love you as much as I can”
This show works so wonderfully with an all Asian cast and manages to address so many harmful stereotypes/sheds light on a lot of issues within Asian communities without having to change ANY aspect of the show and just… thisis why diversity is important. A diverse cast can add a whole new interpretation to a show that might have never otherwise addressed it because it wouldn’t have originally been written with that kind of narrative in mind. I doubt Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey were attempting to make statements regarding the stigma of mental illness, pressure of academic success, and gender inequality in Asian cultures when they first wrote Feeling Electric, but thats what an all Asian cast contributes to the show. Diverse casting can help a show as much as it can help the actors.
it’s actually newsies
it’s actually spring awakening
it’s actually next to normal
it’s actually west side story
it’s actually legally blonde
it’s actually heathers
it’s actually anything else BUT spongebob the musical
What she means: Next to Normal is a modern masterpiece. The heart wrenching show is truly one of the best of its age. It is one of the most moving and interesting musicals anyone could watch. It’s modern and honest take on mental illness and how it affects a family is SO IMPORTANT, not to mention the music is extremely likable. Alice Ripley’s performance in this show is absolutely breath taking. The way you can hear the pain in her voice can bring me to my knees in prayer. Her character demonstrates what it means to suffer from severe mental illness that you feel you cannot get away from. Aaron Tveit as Gabe Goodman is one of the best things on this planet. His voice is completely orgasmic. The way he lets his character play with your mind so that you’re almost rooting for him is completely genius and its a sheer demonstration of his endless talent. Also Jennifer Damiano is so beautiful and talented. Her character is so smart and is a perfect demonstration of what it can feel like to live in a dysfunctional family. Next to Normal is truly everything and needs to be cherished like the beautiful musical it is.