Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW
I had the great pleasure of going to the 5th Avenue Theatre’s opening night performance of “Next to Normal” a flat out phenomenal Pulitzer Prize and Tony award winning musical about….bipolar disorder!
First of all, let me geek out for a moment about the cast: Alice Ripley, the lead actor is the Broadway Tony and Helen Hayes award winner touring with this play. This is rare. Usually top Broadway actors do not leave New York City for less theatrically-prestigious cities like Seattle.
I love a good juxtaposition. Musicals are usually light hearted and predictable. Not this one.
“Next to Normal” hits all kinds of dynamics that people with mental illness and their families face: The challenges of finding a good therapist, the myth of pharmaceutical cures, the neglect family members experience, the seduction of psychosis, and traumatic history as the underpinning of mental health crises.
Did I mention it’s super duper funny too? Go see this play if you like good theatre. Go see this play if you are interested in understanding major mental health disorders. Heck, just go see this play!
The show ends March 13th.
- ‘Next to Normal,’ coming to 5th Avenue, tries to paint authentic picture of mental illness (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- ‘Next to Normal’ review: Ripley raw and riveting (sfgate.com)
- Theatre Review (LA): Next to Normal by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey at the Ahmanson (blogcritics.org)
- Greg Archer: What’s Next for Next to Normal? (huffingtonpost.com)