Monday, December 29, 2014

Next to Normal: The Tony & Pulitzer-Prize Winning Musical

Lyricist and script writer Brian Yorkey never misses an opportunity to work pop culture or historical references into the text of the play. Throughout the score, the references characters make over meta-theatrical commentary on the action of the play by drawing on the cultural significance of other events or works of fiction. Understanding the allusions can offer insight into the characters.

Flowers for Algernon: During the song “Just Another Day,” Natalie rattles off homework assignments including an essay on floral imagery in Flowers for Algernon. Written by Diane Keyes and published in 1966, the novel was based on an earlier short story. The science action drama follows Charlie Gordon, who is scheduled to be the first human test subject for a new brain surgery aimed at increasing intelligence. Algernon is a lab mouse who has already undergone the treatment. After Charlie’s treatment is a success, he begins to lose his former friends and becomes depressed. Algernon begins to regress to his pre-surgery condition giving Charlie cause to worry. After Charlie has reverted to his former IQ, he makes a final request that flowers be left on the tiny grave of the now deceased Algernon.

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