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  • Brian Yorkey is an American playwright, lyricist, and theatre director known best for writing the musical Next to Normal with composer Tom Kitt. The work won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award. Yorkey was born in Omaha, Nebraska; raised there and in Issaquah, Washington. He graduated from Columbia University where he served as the artistic director of the Varsity Show. He also is an alumnus of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. Prior to bringing Next to Normal to Broadway, Yorkey was affiliated with Village Theatre, where he began as a KidStage student and eventually progressed to a six-year tenure as associate artistic director. Five musicals written by Yorkey—Funny Pages, Making Tracks, The Wedding Banquet, Play it by Heart, and A Perfect Fall —were staged there. Next to Normal began as a ten-minute-long piece called Feeling Electric, which recent college graduates Yorkey and Kitt wrote as a final project for the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop at the end of the 1990s. Their inspiration was a segment about electroconvulsive therapy Yorkey saw on Dateline NBC. Yorkey has observed it's "exponentially harder to write an original musical.

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