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Photo at top: Brian Yorkey ’93 (left) and Tom Kitt ’96, who won Pulitzer and Tony Awards for Next to Normal, share a laugh as they prepare their latest show, If/Then, for Broadway. The show opens on Sunday, March 30. Photo: Matthew Murphy

The Marriage of True Minds

A freewheeling conversation with the If/Then Broadway team of Brian Yorkey ’93  (left) and Tom Kitt ’96 (right)

By Jamie Katz ’72, ’80 Business

Gilbert and Sullivan. George and Ira Gershwin. Rodgers and Hammerstein. Dorothy Fields and anybody. Let’s not forget Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte, who wrote the libretto for Don Giovanni and, much later, became Columbia’s first professor of Italian. It’s too soon to say whether the creative partnership of Tom Kitt ’96 (music) and Brian Yorkey ’93 (book and lyrics) will someday join that pantheon. But they’re off to a good start, having won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for their first Broadway collaboration, Next to Normal, which was also nominated for 11 Tony Awards and won three. This was no happy-times stage show: It explored the searing anguish of a suburban American family with a manic-depressive mother at its center. Ben Brantley of The New York Times called it “a brave, breathtaking musical,” writing, “No show on Broadway right now makes as direct a grab for the heart — or wrings it as thoroughly — as Next to Normal does.

Read more of the conversation in Columbia College Today.

Photo: Matthew Murphy

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