Co-written with Maria Irene Aserios
"Pilipinas Got Talent" crooner and multi-talented instrumentalist Markki Stroem leaves the klieg lights of local mainstream entertainment a bit to try his hand at acting and singing in the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning smash Broadway musical "next to normal".
For the first time, the electrifying and nearly sung-through masterpiece about your average dysfunctional American family, created by Tom Kitt (music) and Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics), reaches the Asia-Pacific region through Atlantis Productions Inc.'s staging of "next to normal" at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City, Manila, Philippines on March 11 through March 27, 2011.
"next to normal" is bowing out on Broadway this month after around 720 performances. However, the show's original star Alice Ripley currently headlines the national tour in the United States. Ripley won the 2009 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role in "next to normal" -- she plays Diana, mother and wife in the Goodman household who's been suffering from manic-depressive disorder.
On the local front, Filipino-Norwegian Stroem essays the role of Henry -- he's the drug dependent suitor of Natalie who's the only daughter and most artistically-inclined of the Goodman family.
Stroem performs alongside Bea Garcia's Natalie.
Apart from Garcia, a small but veteran cast surrounds our professional theatre newbie - Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo plays Diana; Jett Pangan plays the Goodman's patriarch Dan; Felix Rivera plays the Goodman's only son Gabe; and Jake Macapagal plays Diana's psychotherapist Doctor Madden.
Bobby Garcia directs "next to normal" right on the heels of his successful productions of Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music" both in Manila and Singapore.
BroadwayWorld.com (Philippines) recently had a quick one-on-one interview with Stroem in Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao. He was in town as a special guest performer in big band singer Richard Poon and comedienne Pokwang's concert at the Atrium Limketkai Center last month.
BWW: Hi Markki!
MS: Hi, how are you doin' today? How's BroadwayWorld.com?
BWW: Pretty good!
BWW: We've heard that you're part of "next to normal" in Manila. Congratulations!