NLT is a product of the combined powers of Lena Mucchetti, Tom Mucchetti and Newton Buchanan, an unreasonably close trio who have been working in theatre since our teenage years. Bonded in the trenches of years of professional and educational theatre, we developed complementary skill sets, a knack for reading one another’s minds, and a passion for creating meaningful artistic experiences, particularly with students in the beginning stages of their development as an artist.
In a career in theatre, some pieces feel like a calling. The rock musical Next to Normal had called to us for several years, and as we continued to work in schools alongside remarkable students, watching them grow as performers and express a desire to dig deeper into more challenging and meaningful work, the call only became louder and clearer
with the addition of their voices. In the summer of 2018, we answered, with a commitment to produce our own work, and New Light Theatre was formed. Next to Normal was a unique way to continue to work with some of the emerging young artists we had the honor of teaching, while placing them alongside professional theatre artists in a project we all were deeply passionate about, both as a breathtaking piece of art, and as a means of shining a light into the darkness. We felt, in its creation, and in its reception by our audiences, the importance of a piece which explored the stigma of mental illness, and the ways in which society’s expectations of what is “normal” leave many of our fellow humans struggling with their darkness alone. We were humbled by the reactions of
our audience and the impact the piece had on both our audience members, and on one another as artists.
Next to Normal ran for one weekend in August, 2018 at the Limelight Performing Arts Center in West Chester, PA. Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our donors, and the completely sold out run, we were able to set aside a portion of the funds raised to make a donation to The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, an organization committed to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness through awarding scientific research grants for studies seeking breakthroughs in the treatment of, among other illnesses, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety, addiction and PTSD.
We therefore decided to base our future work on this model. We believe that theatre has the power to be a force for change in the world, to bring light to the darkness, to connect us in the human experience and deepen our empathy and understanding of one another. We wish to pursue the idea of illuminating and contributing to causes that improve the human condition as we dedicate ourselves to meaningful artistic experiences. We hope you will join us.
“When we open up our lives, sons and daughters, husbands, wives, and fight that fight, there will be light.”
- Next to Normal