Monday, July 6, 2015

4 Reasons Why You Should Be a Fan of Next to Normal

Viewer and listener discretion advised, especially for younger people. There is a lot of content in it that hurts to listen to and watch, and this is one reason why I don't recommend this musical to everybody. Easily a PG-15 or 16.

One of my favorite musicals is Next to Normal. A rock musical about the effects mental illness can have on a family, it ran on Broadway from 2009-2011. Raw, real and, most of all, human, it's definitely not a conventional musical and I'm here to tell you why you should be a fan of it.

1. It's very honest.

The depiction of mental illness is not softened, which makes it hard to listen to at times. But it's very real and Diana's illness is desperate and wild at times. If you want to get a good depiction of Diana and how her illness effects her and her husband, Dan and her son, Gabe, watch this video of the cast performing "You Don't Know" and "I Am the One" at the 2009 Tony Awards.

2. It doesn't shy away from life's pain.

Life is painful. And while we shouldn't always focus on that, we need to acknowledge it and understand how to deal with the pain. And stories can help us do just that.

3. The ending is ultimately hopeful.

"I don't need a life that's normal, 
that's way too far away, 
but something next to normal
would be okay."
~Maybe (Next to Normal)

There's always light at the end of the tunnel. While it might not be a happy ending, these characters have grown and understand that it won't be easy, but they'll get through.

4. The plot isn't predictable.

While there isn't a "twist ending" and the conclusion is painful, but fulfilling, there are definitely crazy things happening during the rest of the show. These people, they have secrets. On the outside, they may seem a little cooky, but ultimately fine. On the inside, they are anything but that.

If you want to get another taste of the music, I would recommend "I'm Alive," "Light," and "Superboy and the Invisible Girl." These have been some of my favorites from not only this musical, but also from musical theatre as a whole.

While I'm not sure if or where you can watch this musical as a whole, you can find numerous clips on Youtube of some memorable parts of the show. In addition to that, you can find the entire cast album on iTunes and Spotify and probably on Youtube as well.

So what do you think of Next to Normal? Have you seen it and/or listened to it?


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