Next to Normal
I am going to start off with stating: I am ADDICTED to Next to Normal
. I saw the show a total of seven times! Two times off-Broadway and five times on Broadway. So I will admit that I am a little biased when it comes to this show. Next to Normal
spoke to me for many reasons, but was also able to help me access some cathartic emotions due to the mind-blowing music and fascinating lyrics. When I saw it Off-Broadway, I left the theatre moved, but also amazed at how far past the line of comfort it went. For example, Act I ended with the doctor ripping off his scrubs – wearing a leather and chain ensemble of a heavy metal rock star – while singing a song called “Feeling Electric” as he administered electric shock therapy to the leading lady. When I returned to see it a third time on Broadway, I was shocked at how most of these “silly” moments had been removed and replaced with much more thought provoking songs. No longer “feeling electric”, the song had transformed into “Wish I Were Here”; a more haunting melody about living outside of your mind’s eye and looking in. There has been discussion of whether the show is accurate to real mental illness, but I have come to the firm conclusion that this piece is a surreal rock opera. It exists not to accurately portray real life, but life in its most heightened state. I highly recommend listening to the cast album as you read along with the libretto.
— Craig Stekeur, membership associate