Curtain Call Performing Arts Company takes the stage July 12 at Hamilton Theatre Inc. with Next to Normal. Curtain Call, in its second year of operation, hails from the Hamilton Mountain/Binbrook area and focuses primarily on youth musical theatre productions and classes. Next to Normal is one of CCPAC’s adult productions, dubbed its ‘Passion Project Series.’
This 2008 rock musical by Brian Yorkey follows ‘Diana Goodman’ and her family. Thrown into severe mental illness by the death of her son, Diana’s spent years struggling with worsening bipolar depressive disorder and intermittent delusions that have left an imprint on everyone around her, nearly tearing her family apart.
A score by Tim Kitt and live vocals will evoke themes of “trauma, loss, mental health treatment, and the meaning of family.” After opening on Broadway in 2009, Next to Normal collected 11 Tony Award nominations, winning three. In 2010, both Yorkey and Kitt won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the musical.
Led by Danielle Viola and Kat Baranowski, the show’s co-directors and choreographer, along with Jacob Rushton, vocal director, the cast will use an intimate and pared down set to showcase the story, characters, and music.
It’s no small undertaking to launch a theatre company with a regular schedule of classes and productions. Viola says she and co-founder Baranowski, who have been friends since kindergarten, have always shared a passion for the arts and “saw a need for musical theatre in Binbrook/Hamilton Mountain area.”
Viola (who plays ‘Diana Goodman’ in the show) is a Brock University grad with a B.A. in Theatre. She has had 12 years of vocal training, and danced competitively for over 10 years, specializing in tap and jazz. “I began performing in musicals at the age of 8, doing up to four productions a year within the community before going to Brock,” Viola says. While there, she directed as well as performed in musicals, and has also received training in stage management.
Kat Baranowski is a versatile dancer, choreographer, director, and educator. Captain of her high school’s competitive and recreational dance team, she’s gone on to perform in Binbrook Little Theatre’s Pinocchio and choreographed musicals like Puss N Boots the Panto, Hairspray, Beauty and the Beast, and Little Mermaid JR. Kat teaches at Broadway Bound Dance Studio, and has been dancing with the studio for over 9 years, specializing in jazz, ballet, hiphop, tap, and musical theatre. With Future Steps Studios, Baranowski has taught hiphop and ballroom dancing in Catholic and public schools throughout the GTA.
Initially, the pair teamed up with local dance studios to co-direct children’s theatre productions before starting Curtain Call Performing Arts Company. That led to an inaugural run with Seussical Jr., a junior musical theatre production comprised of kids with stage experience along with complete novices. They came out of the experience inspired.
“When that show ended, we realized there aren’t many programs in the Hamilton area during the summer for teens who still need to be able to work to save for post secondary school,” Viola explains, “we decided to offer an audition based intensive program for teens that were headed towards careers in the arts that wanted somewhere to develop their skills and grow over the summer months.”
Typically, they work out a shared vision for each show and direct all CCPAC productions together; Baranowski concentrates on choreography while Viola hones the vocals. Danielle says they have been blown away by the support and interest from the community in the short time the company has been operating, from registrants to parent volunteers.
After Next to Normal closes, CCPAC will hold a Cabaret next month with the Summer Intensive Training Program (15-20 year olds), and in September will begin its Junior Musical Theatre Program to present Frozen JR.
“We were really fortunate to be able to use HTI’s space last summer for our first summer intensive program; we knew we wanted to go back to that space for this summers teen program and figured it would be the perfect space for Next to Normal,” Viola explains. “It is intimate enough for the audience to really be a part of the show and is the perfect size for a six person cast.”
With Danielle Viola as troubled mom ‘Diana Goodman,’ Samantha Heath (‘Natalie Goodman’), Austin Gagnier (‘Henry’), Mason Micevski (‘Dan Goodman’), Jared Morado (‘Gabe Goodman’), and Jacob Rushton (‘Dr. Fine’ and ‘Dr. Madden’) round out the cast. Each has a rich set of experiences to bring to the production, from vocal training to teaching voice lessons, work in choreography as well as music performance and composition. Their collective list of theatre credits boasts such shows as Villains: The Musical, UrineTown, Chicago, Legally Blonde, Anything Goes, and even dinner theatre.
Danielle Viola believes that audiences will be drawn in by this ‘beautiful’ and ‘emotional’ show that discusses the ever relevant topics of mental illness and health.
“Next to Normal is a really unique show that offers something to audience members of all ages. You are seeing the story of a family: a teenage daughter is trying to figure out school and dating while trying to understand why her mom is the way she is; her mother is trying to figure out how to care for her daughter and husband while trying to fight through and understand her bipolar depression; and the father is trying to keep his family from falling apart but doesn't always know how to communicate and accept his emotions.” V
Next To Normal
July 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 7:30 PM
July 13 and 14 at 2 PM
Hamilton Theatre Inc.,
140 MacNab Street N.
Tickets: at the door (cash only),
online at bruha.com,
or by contacting (905) 541 - 6803
Recommended for ages 13+
-- mature language