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Preston Sadleir, who plays the young, hopeful Henry in the touring production of "Next to Normal," spoke with The Herald from his hotel room in Des Moines, Iowa.


The Herald: How did you get involved in this show?


Preston Sadleir: I think I am one of those actors who knew very early on that the artistic route was my route. I did community theater in Salt Lake City, which is not generally considered a booming theater scene.

Right after leaving high school, I went to film school. I studied at (Brigham Young University), which actually has a fantastic theater program. Then I had an agent showcase in New York City.

One of my first jobs in New York was in a workshop for a new musical. The director was Michael Greif, who also directed "Next to Normal." Fast-forward to a year later, the show was going on national tour and he asked me to do a read for the role of Henry. So everything just fell into place.


What's it like being on tour? Do you do things differently in each city?

It never stops being strange. … You feel like you're doing the same job but in a strange dream place. At the same time, having different theaters and sets helps keep the performances fresh. And there are definitely different city cultures among audiences.

I'm excited because the Providence show marks the first time the tour reaches the East Coast. I think we're going to have a lot more audience members who've seen the show before.


What can you tell me about your character? How do you relate to him?


Henry is a 17-year-old high school student. The show is really centered around the Goodman family, and I kind of act as an outsider to a pretty heavy family situation.

He's in love and kind of naive. The show's very dark, and I see my role as to introduce as much hope and support as I possibly can. I try to bring joy and productivity to the situation.


What is the cast dynamic? How do you feel being around some pretty big-name stars?


In a cast of six, you gravitate to each other pretty quickly. The six of us have to be really on top of our game. Throw in the element of touring together, and that just compounds everything. And sharing the stage with Alice Ripley is just a huge honor.

Most of my scenes are with Emma Hunton, who plays Natalie. She makes the show so fun, and at times she makes it dangerous by trying to make me laugh.


So what's up next for you?


We're all kind of on board with the tour until July. After that … just having a job is great, but after being on the road for a while, I definitely want to stick around in one place for a while.


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