Musical gets bipolar treatment

Musical gets bipolar treatment
(From left) Juan Jackson, Julia Abueva, Linden Furnell, Sally Ann Triplett, Nathan Hartono and Adrian Pang are cast members of Pangdemonium Productions's musical, Next To Normal.

SINGAPORE - Plastered all over one wall in the Pangdemonium rehearsal studio are pages and pages of American actor Juan Jackson's research on the various types of medication for bipolar disorder, in tiny black print.

Jackson, 41, who is playing a psychiatrist in the upcoming musical Next To Normal, shakes his head.

"Each person's experience is so different, his chemical make-up is different, and if it's a balance between his biology and experience - that's a big question," he says.

He was previously seen on the Singapore stage as a very different kind of doctor: the flamboyant Dr Frank N Furter of the Rocky Horror Show (2010).

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Next To Normal will run at the Drama Centre Theatre from Sept 5 to 22, and it revolves around a woman, Diana, struggling with bipolar disorder and schizophrenic hallucinations, and how it affects those around her - especially her family.

Singapore actor Adrian Pang, 47, who plays Diana's long-suffering husband Dan, says of the disorder: "It's so misunderstood. There are so many misconceptions about what it is. I daresay that even the medical profession is still struggling to get a handle on it, exactly what it is and how to treat it."

West End star Sally Ann Triplett, 51, will be taking on the challenging role of Diana.

The sought-after British actress, who has tackled meaty roles from Roxie Hart in Chicago to Grizabella in Cats, will perform in Singapore for the first time.

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