Next to Normal takes one through an exhilarating journey of laughter and sorrow as one relates with the challenges of the actors (Brantley, 2009). Diana Goodman is a loving wife and mother who want the best out of her largely dysfunctional family. Their struggles typify the normal suburban neighborhood in an emotional manner, and the actors punctuate this with periodic musical breaks. In addition, Goodman has bipolar disorder, a form of mental illness, which affects the normal functioning of her already disunited family. The plot also explores Natalie’s drug abuse and her isolation from the family.
The music and stage decoration is perfect. Through a lively pop/rock score, this intensely moving piece of theatre offers a breathtaking opportunity for the actors to investigate dramatic material and highlight their vocal talents. The timing of the lighting effects is in lieu with the message in the storyline and depicts the right emotion. As the musical starts, the lights go off and reveal Diana Goodman sitting alone, pondering about her future. Similarly, as the musical ends, Natalie, the daughter, walks in and turns on the light when he finds his father seated in darkness. She turns on all the lights in the house and reveals Diana who is visibly hurt, but happy to be alive. Apart from the lighting, the scenic and sound design augments the direction and mood of the musical performed on a three-story set that doubles as a doctor’s office, residence, and school.
The actors and actresses do an excellent job in their performance. This is fortified by the numerous applauds and awards the musical has won as it endears itself to the public. Drama Desk Awards awarded Alice Ripley for Outstanding Actress in the musical. Of the eleven nominations in the 2009 Tony Awards, the musical won three, including Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for Alice Ripley. Similarly, Aaron Tveit won Most Promising