Alan Paul returns to direct ‘Next to Normal’ at Round House Theatre

The former STC associate artistic director is now AD at Barrington Stage, which is co-producing the groundbreaking rock musical.

Previously announced as part of the 2023-2024 season, Round House Theatre will co-produce the groundbreaking rock musical Next to Normal (book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, and music by Tom Kitt) with Barrington Stage Company. Staged at Round House in an innovative new production featuring integrated video and multimedia, this Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning hit explores the timely narrative about the ripple effects of mental illness. The production is directed by Alan Paul, Artistic Director of Barrington Stage Company, who previously directed Spring Awakening at Round House Theatre.  Full cast, creative team, and Opening Night details will be announced in the coming weeks.
Artistic Director Ryan Rilette is thrilled to continue Round House’s longstanding efforts in collaborational storytelling, this time with Barrington Stage Company, and to welcome Alan Paul (Barrington Stage Artistic Director) with Next to Normal. Rilette previously talked with American Theatre magazine about the impact of co-productions and sharing resources. He shared that it’s all about “finding ways to collaborate together—to not fight each other for a small piece of pie and instead try to build a bigger pie.”

Director Alan Paul and ‘Next to Normal’ show art.

Director Alan Paul is excited to embark on the rehearsal journey at Round House. “It fills me with great pride to return to Round House to direct Next to Normal, which has been on my ‘bucket list’ for many years,” says Paul. “Next to Normal is one of the most powerful musicals of the last 25 years, full of heartbreak and uplift, and the score is thrilling. I am so excited to have two local treasures in the leading roles – Tracy Lynn Olivera and Kevin S. McAllister – who will bring their powerhouse talents to these roles.”

Tickets may be purchased by calling 240.644.1100 or ordering online at Round House Theatre is located at 4545 East-West Highway, one block from Wisconsin Avenue and the Bethesda station on Metro’s Red Line.

Diana Goodman is a suburban mom struggling with bipolar disorder. Her daughter, Natalie, is a stressed-out overachiever about to snap. And Dan, her exhausted architect husband, is determined to keep everything “normal.” As Diana’s symptoms worsen, and effective treatment remains elusive, the Goodmans must confront their shared griefs and struggles and learn how to finally connect with each other. A masterpiece of modern musical theatre and a powerful depiction of the ripple effects of mental illness, the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical is “brave, breathtaking… [and] much more than a feel-good musical: it is a feel-everything musical” (The New York Times). Co-produced with Barrington Stage Company.

Next to Normal runs from January 24 to February 25, 2023. Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm.

Audio described performance: Saturday, February 3 at 2:00 pm

Open captioned performance: Saturday, February 10 at 2:00 pm; additional date TBA

Mask-required performances: Tuesday, February 13 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, February 17 at 2:00 pm

Relaxed performance: Thursday, February 18 at 7:30 pm


Available ticket discounts include:

• Free Play – free tickets for students ages 13 through college: Round House Theatre’s Free Play initiative ties into our greater strategy to develop theatre audiences of tomorrow by providing rich, meaningful arts experiences today. For more information, visit or email

• On the House community ticket access program: Round House’s next step to remove barriers that can make it difficult for some members of our community to experience our work is On the House, which provides complimentary group tickets to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and community-serving organizations with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor. For more information, visit or email

• Pay-What-You-Can performances: PWYC tickets go on sale online or by phone only (no walk-up sales) beginning three weeks before the first performance of each show. The patron decides the admission price. Limit of two tickets per order. PWYC tickets are available for performances on Wednesday, January 24 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, January 27 at 2:00 pm and are subject to availability.

• Blue Star Theatre Program: Active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their immediate family qualify for a $10 discount off the single ticket price. Learn more at

• 2-For-1 Tuesday: For all Tuesday performances of Next to Normal, all seats are buy one, get one free. 2-for-1 Tuesday tickets are available online or by phone (240.644.1100) with promo code TWOFORONE. Discounts may not be combined. Not valid on previously purchased tickets.

• Group Sales: Groups of 10 or more can save 10% off the single ticket price and are exempt from single ticket fees. These tickets must be reserved and purchased in advance by calling 240.644.1100 or emailing


Round House Theatre no longer requires that audience members wear masks for most performances in our theatre. However, masks are required for certain performances and for events in other Round House spaces, including our Event Room. We continue to strongly recommend masks as the best way for individuals to protect themselves from COVID-19 and other seasonal viruses, and we ask our audience members to respect the choices of others.

Round House will offer a limited number of mask-required performances for audience members who may prefer a fully masked environment. Masks are required for performances on February 13 (7:30 pm) and 17 (2:00 pm).   


Round House Theatre is one of the leading professional theatres in the Washington, DC area, producing a season of new plays, modern classics, and musicals for more than 40,000 patrons each year at our theatre in Bethesda. Round House has been nominated for 213 Helen Hayes Awards and has won 42, including four Outstanding Resident Play Awards and the Charles MacArthur Award for Original New Play in 2016. Round House’s lifelong learning and education programs serve more than 5,000 students each year at its Education Center in Silver Spring, in schools throughout Montgomery County, and at our Bethesda theatre. Cornerstone programs include Free Play, which provides free tickets for students ages 13-college, the Teen Performance Company, which culminates in the student-produced Sarah Metzger Memorial Play, Summer Camp for students in grades K-12, and a full slate of classes for adults and youth.


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