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About Us

For over seven transformative years, Normal Ave/Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble has been a dynamic force in the world of theater, developing and producing groundbreaking works that challenge conventions and ignite imaginations. The origins of this extraordinary journey trace back to a group of creative minds who first crossed paths at Montclair State University – Shannon, Jeremy, Paige, Elena, Esteban, Tony, Jordan. These visionaries embarked on a shared quest, fueled by passion and ambition.


The year 2016 marked a significant milestone as Normal Ave stepped onto the New York stage with its inaugural production, "Really Really" by Paul Downs Colaizzo, hosted at the historic Medicine Show Theater on West 52nd Street. Little did they know that this initial step would mark the beginning of an unforgettable partnership. Medicine Show Theater, a hallowed ground for experimental theater since 1972, became the nurturing home for Normal Ave's blossoming aspirations. The resonance between the two entities was profound, and their destinies intertwined.


Over the course of five years, Normal Ave thrived within the walls of Medicine Show Theater Ensemble, leaving an indelible mark on the stage. Eight plays graced the spotlight, each pushing the boundaries of storytelling and eliciting thought-provoking conversations. The theater resonated with over a dozen staged readings, breathing life into uncharted narratives. In celebration of innovation, three new works festivals paved the way for fresh voices to be heard. And let's not forget the pulsating energy of their vibrant gatherings that ignited the space with life.


The year 2019 witnessed a pivotal moment in this remarkable journey. Medicine Show Theater Ensemble, an institution with a fifty-year legacy of trailblazing theater, stood at the crossroads of change. The passing of Founding Artistic Director, Barbra Vann, in 2015, marked a transition. Chris Brandt and Richard Keyser, inspired by Normal Ave's audacious work, extended an invitation that would reshape the course of both organizations. What began as a partnership evolved into a merger – a harmonious passing of the baton. In this synergy, the torch of radical storytelling was entrusted to Normal Ave, propelling them to take the reins of day-to-day operations while honoring the distinct programming of both entities.


As history unfolded, the theater landscape witnessed a seismic shift. The global pandemic that swept the world in 2020 was a catalyst for change. The memory of "Indoor Person," premiering in late February, now stands as a poignant reminder of a bygone era. The very foundation that nurtured countless artistic endeavors, Medicine Show Theater, underwent a transformation. The physical space that bore witness to their creative exploits evolved into office spaces, signaling an evolution in the theatrical realm.


Yet, like true artists, Normal Ave/Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble embraced the winds of change with unwavering resolve. A departure from the traditional confines of a formalized season, this phase champions a project-based production cycle. The creative process is granted the time and space it deserves, nurturing the growth of full-length opuses and nurturing smaller-scale gems. The canvas expands to encompass diverse media platforms, embracing the ever-evolving landscape of storytelling.

Welcome to our community.

We look forward to your presence becoming our new normal.


Learn about our mission

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