Tom Kitt was, appropriately, in a rehearsal on Monday when he got word that he and Brian Yorkey had won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “Next to Normal.”
“I just couldn’t believe it. I immediately walked up the aisle of the theater yelling something you can’t print.”
Kitt is musical supervisor, arranger and orchestrator for Green Day’s “American Idiot,” which opens next Tuesday at the St. James Theater, just down Shubert Alley from the Booth, where “Next to Normal” has been running since it opened one year ago tomorrow.
“Next to Normal” tells the story of a woman’s mental illness and the shockwaves it sends through her family.
Kitt, who grew up in Armonk and graduated from Byram Hills High School, won Tony awards for his orchestrations (with Michael Starobin) and for the musical’s score (with Yorkey). Alice Ripley won the best-actress Tony for her portrayal of Diana, the woman at the heart of “Next to Normal.”
Kitt said he spent his Pulitzer day with his two theater families. The response at the “American Idiot” rehearsal was thunderous, he said.
“(Director) Michael Mayer got on the god mike and announced it to everyone in the theater and the cast and crew of ‘American Idiot’ ran off the stage and came to the lobby and everyone was hugging me. It was a beautiful moment.”
Kitt spent the rest of the day with Yorkey, who had just returned from Europe. They celebrated with the “Next to Normal” cast, including White Plains’ Jennifer Damiano and New City’s Adam Chanler-Berat.
“We went to Angus McIndoe Restaurant to celebrate with the cast,” he said. “We went before the show. We went after the show. I was very well taken care of.”
“Next to Normal” took an unusual road to Broadway. After playing Off-Broadway, Kitt and Yorkey convinced producer David Stone that it needed further honing and Stone agreed, arranging an out-of-town run at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage. The musical that opened on Broadway on April 15, 2009 was leaner and more focused.
“Next to Normal” is the first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize since “Rent” in 1996. That rock musical was written by Jonathan Larson of White Plains.
(Photo by Kathy Willens/The Associated Press: Book writer and lyricist Brian Yorkey, left, and composer Tom Kitt, pose for a photograph in front of the Booth Theatre on Broadway in New York, Monday, April 12, 2010. Their musical, “Next to Normal,” won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for drama Monday.)