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Next to Normal

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  2,729 ratings  ·  111 reviews
"A brave and breathtaking musical."--The New York Times
Paperback, 112 pages
Published July 20th 2010 by Theatre Communications Group (first published May 12th 2009)
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4.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,729 ratings  ·  111 reviews

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The Shayne-Train
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Yet another instance of: "Hey, I'm-a be in this musical. I better read this musical."

Not my normal fare, as I prefer musical theatre that has singing zombies or cross-dressing murderous cooks, but I did enjoy it. The story of a family trying to cope with the mother's delusional bi-polar disorder stemming from an immense loss.

I get to do the dual roles of the Doctors. Which means I get to electrify the main character's brain. So I got that goin' for me...which is nice.

Banny Carstairs
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have no idea how to rate this, all I can think about is the "I am the one" reprise and the feeling it gave me.

Also because this is the first time I read a musical's book or libretto (please tell me if I’m misusing those names), it was fun, I’ll do the same with Spring Awakening or anything your recommend.
Julien-Pierre Campbell
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays-musicals
Prepare for a long review, folks.

This play is utterly...staggering. Mind-boggling. AMAZING. It's honestly quite hard for me to put into words, but I'll try. The characters in this are so complex it's hard to articulate. We'll start with the main character: Diana Goodman.

Diana "Di" Goodman is a loving wife and mother, trying to do the best for her family. She is utterly miserable, bored with her husband and her daughter who "though a genius, is a freak." Her son is a charming "little shit" who s
Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, theatre
"next to normal" by Brian Yorkey (Music by Tom Kitt) is one of the most emotionally vivid pieces of theater I've read. The winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, "next to normal" is a work of honest, raw feelings and emotions carried forward by a dri...ving rock score and well-drawn, three-dimensional characters. The play centers around a suburban family (father, mothers, son, daughter) dealing with the mother's depression and bipolar disorder. The mother is vivacious and damaged, the fath ...more
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, mental-illness
This is my favorite musical so I really can't give it any less than 5 stars. It's so, so, so good and so important to me. I've seen it on tour, watched several bootlegs (shhhhh), and I listen to the cast recording all the time. But still, there were many moments of revelation for me in the actual text of the script. I loved reading this so much and would highly recommend other fans of the show to do so as well.

If you don't know anything about this musical, I definitely still recommend reading t
Alissa Haley
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
“Hi, Dad.” *cries forever*
Emily Ross
I love this musical. The book does it justice, capturing the raw emotion that many script books fail to gather. This musical is spectacular in its ability to both propel the plot and give the main characters characterization. Many musicals, in my opinion, fail at one or the other, and it is relatively rare to find a musical that manages to do both so well. It also manages to capture the essence of life; life is not always happy and there isn't always a good and happy ending. (view spoiler) ...more
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If there was an option to give more than five stars, this is the one thing that would need it.

I am a lover of all mediums of storytelling: film, television, books, musicals, plays, etc., and it is no exaggeration when I say that Next to Normal is my favorite fictional work of all time.

While reading the libretto does not give you the complete picture of this show's beauty and importance, it is a great way to dig textually deeper into the show and read into lines that might not seem as significa
Julia Curtis
May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes there are scripts that don't do very well just reading because... well seeing it is better. I find that "Next to Normal" is one of those wonderful exceptions. It's heart-wrenching, funny, thrilling, and just all around beautiful. And I didn't need to see it. The script of "Spring Awakening" had me constantly searching YouTube so that I could see the scene and read along with it. "Next to Normal" did not require that. It made my emotions swing up and down without having to see one actor ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
Read this one yesterday for a term paper I am writing about mental illness. I love musicals and I was watching the show at the same time on YouTube. This play had everything. Laughter, tears and made me think about how we perceive mental illness. It's a shame that it hasn't been brought to much attention in Germany. I can only recommend it. It will tear your heart out, but boy did Yorkey create a master piece.
Matthew Funke
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Saw the bootleg... I was. Stunned
Graham Wilhauk
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I am about to say this. I am starting 2018 with a 5 star rating. This could be my new favorite musical. Everything about this was incredible and stunning. The lyrics to the songs, the way the story was told, the way the characters were carefully unraveled in a natural and raw way, the beautiful yet devastating themes of love, family, mental illness, and loss. EVERYTHING WAS JUST BRILLIANT. While this musical is very popular, it has taken a backseat to other shows in the 21st cent ...more
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing musical and even if you've seen it, I really recommend reading it because some of the stage directions are rather funny.
Sylvia Bloom
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The best musical since "RENT."
Halley Hopson
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I love this musical with every fiber of my being. It’s just SO GOOD.
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This musical was my catalyst, my gateway drug into musical theatre. I'd had a lot of experience with it before––I'd been in amateur productions of stuff like Camp Rock and I went to a performing arts camp, which was where I first saw this––but this was the first musical I ever saw that had a major emotional effect on me and was just really fucking good and authentic. After this came all my other musical obsessions: Hamilton, Spring Awakening, In the Heights, Dear Evan Hansen, Great Comet, Falset ...more
Oct 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great songs and ideas, but I was bothered by some of the ways it dealt with bipolar disorder, ie not emphasizing Diana's pain, only what she caused those around her. Losing all your memories and hurting your family is going to be very painful. And sometimes Diana's mental illness and hallucinations were used for comic relief which felt wrong. Also therapy and medication was portrayed as only harmful which can be true in some cases but I feel like the overall message about medication and therapy ...more
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this script for a class, although I've seen the broadway version more than once and it only gets BETTER. What an important and beautiful piece of theatre. Currently listening to the entire recording on repeat...
Maureen Keever
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ready to see the play

Ready to see the play

I listened to the soundtrack while reading the play. I am going to see the play this month and looking forward to it. Easy read and emotional story.
Oct 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I love getting to really dig into the text of the show and find new ways to see this story. The characters are heartbreaking and breathtakingly real, and the story touches every emotional chord it possibly can. Ben Brantley was right, "This is a feel-everything musical".
Toby Murphy
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best plays I've ever read. The writing is superb and that goes for both the songs and the story. The writers have really pushed the envelope with what a musical can be. Intense but also incredibly moving.
jessie monika
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant work! I wish I could do pieces like this one!
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A heart-wrenching portrayal of a family grappling with mental illness.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own, english
The darkest skies will some day see the sun.
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was interesting reading a musical. It felt like poetry that told a story from different points of view.
Gabriela Méndez
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read this in one sitting. I think this will always be my favorite play
Laura Gerber
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an interesting read. Being a psychotherapist I found it engaging, however, I think it would have more of an impact actually seeing it on stage.
David Valentino
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Great Musical About Mental Illness

Next to Normal is among the most electric, compelling, and moving musical dramas you’ll ever experience. It evokes strong emotional reactions in audiences not only because of the terrific music and book, but because it dramatizes real-life experiences many people share: loss of a child, mental illness, and a troubled family life. If you have seen the play, then you yourself can attest to its power, for there’s hardly a performance in which sobbing doesn’t brea
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
GUYS. Guys. If you, like me, were ever worried about this show from hearing some of the songs out of context or because Yorkey wrote the 13 Reasons Why TV show...fear not. I can say with both my own experience and all the research I've done as a dramaturg for an upcoming student performance of this show (!!!) that it gets everything right (although the specific diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorders has changed since it was written). Also, it's so so good from both a literary and viewer persp ...more
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: play, contemporary
I hate that I keep having to say this, yet it keeps being true: I can really tell this musical was written by a bunch of dudes.

Diane's mental illness ultimately being portrayed as a love quadrangle between her and her husband and her (view spoiler) son and her psycho-pharmacologist (however jokingly) is some lazy writing that unfortunately spells the failure of the second act as things descend into two-bit Freudian psychodrama bullshit.

This is unfortunate because I still re
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“Most people who think they're happy are really just stupid.” 51 likes
“They're the perfect loving fam'ly, so adoring...
And I love them ev'ry day of ev'ry week.
So my son's a little shit, my husband's boring,
And my daughter, though a genius, is a freak.”
More quotes…