Show Notes

#8: I’m Alive – Pulitzer Prize-Winning Musicals

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Pulitzer Prizes are awarded every year for excellence in American writing, with categories for journalism, books, drama, and music. The drama prize almost always goes to a critically-acclaimed straight play by someone really serious like Eugene O’Neill or August Wilson, but on rare occasions, it goes to a musical. Only ten musicals have ever won.

So today we take a look at some of those select few and take a deep dive into a huge favorite of ours, Next to Normal. Join us as we try to get through a whole episode without giggling every time the name “Aaron Tveit” is said.


  • Next to Normal rocks our socks off. We recommend the original Broadway cast recording, although I think the Italian one is good too.
  • You know what else rocks our socks off? The Alliance Theatre. Please consider supporting their awesome work, particularly their reimagined drive-in production of A Christmas Carol (where you will see an article by yours truly in the program).
  • Our favs: “Tveiter-tots,” Next to Normal, Aaron Tveit, Alice Ripley, J. Robert Spencer, Jennifer Damiano, Louis Hobson, Adam Chanler-Berat, Ben Brantley, Helen Hayes Awards, Tony Awards, Feeling Electric, Norbert Leo Butz, Sherie Rene Scott
  • Off-topic mentions: Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Of Thee I Sing, South Pacific, Rodgers and Hammerstein, The Fox Theatre, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Walter Kerr, Rent (Ashley’s favorite show), Side Show, Emily Skinner, Spiderman: Turn off the Dark, The Sound of Music, Peter and the Starcatcher, Amelie, Philippa Soo, the Les Miserables movie, Grease Live!, Dear Evan Hansen, The Last Five Years, The Arena Stage, 30 Rock, Billy Elliot, Stockard Channing, Pal Joey, Ben Platt, Tuck Everlasting, The Color Purple 
  • Special thanks to Crazy Love Coffeehouse, Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee, Ground & Pound Coffee, and Noble & Main for being the best editing offices. No thanks to the Atlanta Starbucks locations for being closed.
  • Ashley talked about running stop signs to find Ben Platt filming in Atlanta, and soon after this episode was recorded, my bearded man and I did find the Dear Evan Hansen‘s crew’s home base.

Bonus Videos

For the budding theatre fans

For the fangirls

For the die-hards


We fan-girled a lot about Aaron Tveit, and very noticeably didn’t mention his Tony nomination. Before y’all freak out, this was recorded way before Tony noms were announced! Obviously if they had already been announced, there would be an entire extra episode just about Aaron Tveit’s hair.

One major thing we did not talk about was how contested Next to Normal’s win of The Pulitzer Prize for Drama really was. Please read all about that in this Playbill article from the week.

We had to cut our mention of the incredible Brian d’Arcy James, but we wanted to note here that he played the role of Dan in the Off-Broadway run before he went to Shrek the musical on Broadway. And oh how we love him!

Etiquette corner

Actors are just people, and having fans go over-the-top with accolades or even boundaryless statements like, “You’re the reason I’m alive,” can be really overwhelming and annoying. Learn from our mistakes and try to be specific when you greet an actor after a show, sharing how their performance made you feel.

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