Oceanside Theatre Company Announces Next to Normal Cast and Creative Team

Featuring Two San Diego Critics Circle Winners for Actor of the Year

(Oceanside) April 22, 2024Oceanside Theatre Company (OTC) is thrilled to announce the cast for its production of Next to Normal running May 10 through May 26 at the Sunshine Brooks Theater in downtown Oceanside. Winner of three 2009 Tony Awards, including Best Musical Score, as well as the 2010 Pulitzer Prize, Next to Normal, written by Brian Yorkey with music by Tom Kitt, tells a story of hope, love, and learning to let go through a seemingly typical American family. This production will be directed by Frankie Errington with musical direction by Dr. Randi Rudolph and choreography by Alyssa “Ajay” Junious. 

The cast, all of whom are making their OTC debut, includes previous San Diego Critic Circle award winners 2016 Actor of the Year Melissa Fernandes as Diana and 2022 Actor of the Year Berto Fernández as Dan. Recent college graduate Salima Gangani plays Natalie and soon-to-be SDSU graduate Danny Holmes plays Gabe. Marlon James Magtibay of Orange, California plays the role of Natalie’s admirer Henry, while Daniel Filippi plays the role of Dr. Madden. “Our team looks like our world and it makes me so happy,” said Fernandes of the cast and creative team of Next to Normal. “These humans are all rock stars!”

Returning members of the Creative Team include scenic designer Reiko Huffman, who designed the set for OTC’s recent production of Chicken and Biscuits. Andre Buck Jr., who did the sound and mixed original music for Chicken and Biscuits, returns as Sound Designer and Mixer along with Geronimo Omabtang, OTC’s Technical Director. Choreographer Alyssa “Ajay” Junious is back at OTC for the first time since 2022, having garnered acclaim for her choreography of OTC and Teatro San Diego’s Songs of a New World. OTC’s Artistic Director and theatrical swiss army knife Kevin “Blax” Burroughs is designing the lighting for the show. 

Joining OTC for the first time are Musical Director Dr. Randi Rudolph, whose work includes Moonlight’s 2023 production of 42nd Street, Costume Designer Zoë Trauttman, whose work includes Moxie’s Clyde and La Jolla Playhouse’s Lempicka, currently making its Broadway Debut, Stage Manager Maura McMillan, and Mckenna Foote designing Props and Set Dressing.

Referred to by some of the team as a rock opera, Next to Normal was the most requested show on OTC’s patron survey as a write-in option. “The score is stunning,” said Errington, who was approached to direct the piece after Artistic Director Kevin “Blax” Burroughs saw their directorial work for Turn of the Screw with Chalk Circle Collective, which they co-founded. “Rock, pop, even some folk in there, and it all really functions within the storytelling so well.” 

With 38 songs to master, the cast members are excited about the musical challenge Next to Normal poses. Fernández, who describes himself as a “baritone with tenor tendencies” jokes, “I really have to sing up in the stratosphere for this show.” More earnestly, he explains, “But I think that really reflects to what the piece is about, because you can’t really sing any other way. You have to sing at the top of your lungs, you have to sing high and poignant, because that’s what you have to convey as this character. It’s that feeling of desperation and that feeling of uncertainty that I think drives the piece as well.”

Told almost entirely through song with very little dialogue, the audience is introduced to an average middle class family – the dad heads off to work as an architect, the mom prepares breakfast and lunch, and the teenagers crack jokes at their parents’ expense. Fernández, who is from San Juan, Puerto Rico, sees a lot of his own dad in his character. “I think the Latin culture is very much about having the patriarch and the dad of the family be the provider,” he said, “and who keeps everything together and all the gears going in the machine that is the family.”

However, as the lights begin to shine onto their lives, the truth is illuminated, revealing the shadows of the mother’s 16-year battle with bipolar disorder and the roles each family member has had to play. “It’s really about this family trying to figure out how to love each other in the midst of very difficult circumstances,” said Errington. 

Next to Normal 
Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey
Music by Tom Kitt
May 10-26, 2024
Brooks Theater
217 N. Coast Highway
Oceanside, CA
Tickets: $20-$50


Preview Night – Friday, May 10 ($20 tickets)
Opening Night with Champagne Reception – Saturday, May 11 ($50 tickets)
Military Matinee – Sunday, May 12 (2 free tickets for Military & Veterans with ID)
Artist Talkback – Sunday, May 12 (Q & A after the show)
Industry Night – Monday, May 20 ($20 tickets)
About Oceanside Theatre Company

Oceanside Theatre Company (OTC), the resident professional theater company operating the historic Sunshine Brooks Theater in downtown Oceanside, is a focal point of the Oceanside California Cultural District (OCCD). OTC’s mission is to produce professional theatrical, visual art, and musical productions for the entertainment and enrichment of the community, present educational opportunities in the arts for children and adults, and provide a safe, public venue for expansion of artistic endeavors in North San Diego County and greater Southern California. OTC produces a four-show mainstage theater season and a Music Series as well as music, theater, poetry, dance, film, and cultural events and classes in both the 198-seat  main theater and adjacent Studio 219. Additionally, OTC is the steward of the Brooks Theater Gallery featuring revolving art exhibits year-round. An important part of OTC’s mission is inspiring and sharing the arts with local youth through the Youth Theater Program, which includes Summer Theater Camps, a Fall Youth Theater Program, and onsite After School Theatre Outreach Classes at local elementary and middle schools. To learn more visit www.oceansidetheatre.org or follow OTC on Instagram and Facebook @oceansidetheatrecompany

(Left to Right) Daniel Filippi, Salima Gangani, Berto Fernández, Melissa Fernandes, Danny Holmes, Marlon James Magtibay

(Left to Right) Back Row: Daniel Filippi, Salima Gangani, Berto Fernández, Melissa Fernandes, Danny Holmes, Marlon James Magtibay. Second to Back Row: Frankie Errington. Second to Front Row: Maura McMillan, Alyssa “Ajay” Junious, Mckenna Foote, Andre Buck Jr., Dr. Randi Rudolph, Zoë Trauttman. Front Row: Kevin “Blax” Burroughs