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Members experience the best of New York City culture through CAAL Nights! These evenings provide members the opportunity to meet fellow alumni over drinks, converse with artists about their work, and navigate the city's arts scene. Previous special guests include Academy Award winners Michael Douglas and Milos Forman, Grammy Award winners Paquito D'Rivera and Wynton Marsalis, Tony Award-winning actor Brian Dennehy (CC '60), Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright, and the cast of Cirque du Soleil's Wintuk! All past CAAL Nights are listed below. Click on any event link to see event details or view photos.

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Broadway and Theatre

June 30 2009

222 West 45th Street
New York, NY 10036
(212) 239-6200

Tuesday 7:00 PM to 10:30 PM

CAAL members saw the new "brave, breathtaking" rock musical next to normal and met the two Columbians who created it, composer Tom Kitt '96CC and lyricist Brian Yorkey '93CC. The duo first collaborated 15 years ago when they wrote the music, lyrics, and book to the 100th Annual Varsity Show, Angels at Columbia: Centennial Approaches.

Also joining Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey in the Q & A after the performance to speak about the psychiatric aspect of next to normal were Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., Lawrence C. Kolb Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, as well as Anthony Pietropinto '64MD, who assisted Kitt and Yorkey with the psychological themes in the show.

next to normal is a contemporary musical that explores how one suburban household copes with crisis. With provocative lyrics and a score featuring more than 30 original songs, the musical shows how far two parents will go to keep themselves sane and their family's world intact. And just last week, next to normal was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Actor and Actress in a Musical, Best Score and Best Direction of a Musical! 

Check out the critical reviews:

Ben Brantley of the NYTimes loved it. Read the review here.

Check out behind the scenes footage of the music here.

Read the Columbia College Today article about Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey here.


"next to normal represents the kind of piece we always aspired to create. While mental illness is a subject matter that may not be an obvious choice for a musical, anyone dealing with this terrible affliction knows that it takes you to extreme places of emotion, the kind of emotions one would sing about in a musical. And through this form, we have been blessed to be a part of creating something new and original with its own voice and its own power about something we have all dealt with in some way."

-Tom Kitt ‘96CC and Brian Yorkey ‘96CC


Who Attended:

Paulette Bernd, '77GSAS, '78GSAS, '80GSAS
Kristi Brecht, '09GSAS
Lorraine Cates, '72SW
Allyson DeLorenzo ,'06PH
Linda Freeman, '76PS
Christopher Hand, '82GS
Hilka Klinkenberg, '09SIPA
Wendy Lebowitz, '81PH
Lillian Libertoff, Friend
Rebecca Schoer, '07GSAS
Elizabeth Strauss, '09SEAS
Hillary Weisman, Friend
Susan Yoss, '82BUS




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