Characters / Next to Normal

Next to Normal

    open/close all folders 

     The Goodman Family 

Diana Goodman

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dianaaaaaa_585.jpg
Played by Alice Ripley

"So my son's a little shit, my husband's boring, and my daughter, though a genius, is a freak."


  • Annoying Patient: And yet, Dr Madden begs her to stick at the treatment.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: It seems that only Diana is really able to do this, but Alice Ripley as Diana was infamous for this.
  • Broken Bird
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Almost every character thinks she is this, specifically Dan, when he states:
    Dan: [To the audience] I have no clue what she's talking about
    • ...And then later on again he says
    Dan: [To the audience] Again, no clue.
  • Feel No Pain: Diana has many complaints that her medication makes her suffer new problems each time it is altered, such as weight gain, sweating for no reason, constipation and nausea. However, after a while she claims "I don't feel like myself...I mean, I don't feel anything."
    • Averted when she throws away her medication in "I Miss The Mountains" because she misses her younger self, who felt pain, depression, happiness, sadness and even mania; but at least she felt.
  • Give Him a Normal Life:
    Diana: [To Natalie] We tried to give you a normal life. (laughs) I realize now I have no clue what that is.
  • He's Back: Inverted; when Gabe returns at the end of "Why Stay?/A Promise" behind Dan when Diana and Dan are about to embrace. Diana issues an "oh no" and turns Dan to face the (presumably) empty space where Gabe is, to which Dan yells a long "GODDAMMITTTT!"
  • "I Want" Song: "I Miss the Mountains"
  • Missing Mom: As Natalie sings towards the end of the show "It's so lovely that you're sharing, no really; I'm all ears. But where has all this caring been for sixteen years?"
  • No Medication for Me
  • Protagonist: Diana's mental state is the driving force of the plot.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: Could be seen as many for Diana.
  • Stepford Smiler
  • Too Much Information: Does this to Natalie at the very beginning of the show so it seems that they are leading normal lives.
    Diana: Honey, you need to slow down. Take some time for yourself. I'm going to have sex with your father!
    Natalie: Great, thanks, I'm so glad I know that.

Dan Goodman

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dan_325678_3061.png
Played by J. Robert Spencer

"I know I have to help her, but hell if I know how. And all the times that I've been told the way her illness goes, the truth of it is no one really knows."


  • Bumbling Dad: Natalie wants him to be "a typical parent and lie" that everything with Diana will be OK.
  • The Caretaker: For Diana.
  • Deuteragonist: The plot revolves around Diana's worsening mental condition, but the show focuses just as much on Dan trying to keep the family together and his head above water.
  • Dogged Nice Guy
  • Hates Being Alone: The song "I've been" makes it clear that Dan is afraid of Diana leaving. Which is exactly what happens in the end.
    Dan: She's been hurt. And how! But I can't give up now! 'Cause I've never been alone... I could never be alone.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: The song "It's Gonna Be Good", which is possibly the happiest song in the soundtrack, is essentially Dan celebrating the fact that his family is beginning to seem like a normally family after sixteen years. The reprise of "It's Gonna Be Good", on the other hand, is a rather creepy song about Dan desperately trying to get to Diana to stop trying to think about their dead son in fear of returning to the insane life they had before.
  • Men Don't Cry: Averted. Dan hides his emotions from his family until it eventually tears them apart, until his wife leaves him and Natalie finds him sobbing alone in the dark and simply replies that "there will be light." Dan eventually agrees to see a therapist recommended by Dr Madden, after a long time of bottling up his emotions.
  • Only Sane Man: Well, there's the bipolar wife, the angsty teenage daughter, the dead-ghost son, the daughter's stoner boyfriend and the terrifying therapist. And then there's Dan.
    • While he's certainly more stable than the others, Dan is more troubled than he appears at first; a lot of his storyline throughout the musical involves him being forced to come to terms with his hopelessness about his wife's condition and his denial about the loss of his son.
  • Stepford Smiler

Gabriel "Gabe" Goodman

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gabegabriel_331.png
Played by Aaron Tveit

"I'm old as time and forever young, I am every song that will stay unsung. I'll find you, remind you..."


  • Aloof Big Brother: That's how Diana invisions how Gabe would be towards Natalie if he was alive at 17.
  • Big Brother Bully: He likes picking on Natalie, and he seems to enjoy her suffering. Most notably in "Superboy and the Invisible Girl", when he knows he's their mom's favorite even though he's dead and she's not. And during "I'm Alive", he drops the purse with their mom's pills in it, and watches while Natalie gets high off them.
  • Dead All Along: It's revealed halfway into the first act that Diana is just Hallucinating him, out of grief from his death 16 years prior.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Many think of Gabe as a vicious and aggressive spirit/memory trying to spite his family into remembering him, but he stops following his mother for once when she leaves his father to help him.
    • One could argue that he was staying for his father for his whole appearance during the second act. He does reappear to Diana which tells us her treatment failed, but most of the song he sings during that appearance is directed at Dan, not Diana. And in his subsequent appearance, he is solely there for Dan.
  • Fanservice: During "I'm Alive", his rather... vigorous use of the tiered set definitely verges on pole dancing.
  • Ironic Birthday: His birthday, when the delusional Diana bakes Gabe a cake, is when the audience explicitly finds out, from Dan, that "he's been dead sixteen years."
  • Meaningful Name: Gabriel, perhaps as in the angel who appeared to Mary in The Bible and told her she was pregnant.
  • Mr. Fanservice
  • Say My Name: Most prominent in "I Am The One Reprise":
    Gabe: I know you know who I am.
    Dan: Gabe.....Gabriel.
    Gabe: Hi Dad.
  • Tenor Boy: An exception: he is a tenor, but is actually the villain for varying degrees of villainy.

Natalie Goodman

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/natalieeeeee_774.png
Played by Jennifer Damiano

"And you graduate early, you're gone as of May! And there's nothing your paranoid parents can say."


     Others 

Henry

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/henryyy_5931.png
Played by Adam Chanler-Berat

"I might be lazy, a loner, a bit of a stoner... it's true."



Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/12953901924d3615f057393_5719.jpg
Played by Louis Hobson

"Oh, and one last thing! Use may be fatal..."


  • Acting for Two: Both Dr. Fine and Dr. Madden are played by the same actor. Partially because Dr. Fine only appears for about 2 scenes and possibly to show how they all seem the same to Diana.
  • Dr. Feelgood: Dr. Fine from Diana's perspective.
  • Meaningful Name: A therapist called Dr Madden? Yikes.
    • Also Dr. Fine, whose prescription aims to neutralise Diana's moods rather than improve them.
  • Only Sane Man: It's to be expected - Diana's insanity has a deep impact on every other character, excepting Henry, who's The Stoner.
  • Rock Star Song: Parodied by Diana's hallucinations about Doctor Madden in "My Psychopharmacologist and I", and in Madden's cut song "Feeling Electric."
  • Unfazed Everyman: Granted, he's a psychologist, so he's probably seen worse.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/NextToNormal