Theatre Department Looks at Mental Illness with Pulitzer-Winning Musical

The Truman Theatre Department is questioning the true meaning of normalcy while exploring the topic of mental illness with their upcoming performance of the award-winning rock musical, “Next to Normal.”

Performances will take place at 8 p.m. April 9-12 in the James G. Severns Theatre in Ophelia Parrish. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased in advance at the Box Office or by calling 660.785.4515.

Arriving on Broadway in 2009, “Next to Normal” caught the eye of critics and audiences with its unique book and music by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey. The musical received 11 Tony Award nominations and captured three wins, while also winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, making it the eighth musical in history to receive this award.

“Next to Normal” is a contemporary family drama about a woman’s struggle with mental illness and the effects of her illness on her family. At first, Diana (played by junior Bailey Jones) seems to have an ideal life, but it soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems. Diana has bipolar disorder and her symptoms—anxiety, mood swings, and hallucinations—are growing worse with time. Diana takes medication, talks through her problems with a psychiatrist (sophomore Tom Martin) and undergoes the more controversial treatment of electroconvulsive therapy. Meanwhile, her husband Dan (junior Christian Wacker) confronts his own confusion and depression, while her daughter Natalie (junior Maddie Chambers) deals with isolation and a budding romance with a fellow music student, Henry (sophomore Alex Heberlein). Diana’s son Gabe (junior Keaton Richey) serves as her confidante and link to a happier past. Although the family strives to establish some sort of normalcy, the ties that bind slowly and inexorably unravel around them.

The show contains strong language and adult themes and is not recommended for children under 13.
Previous Next