->''"I don't need a life that's normal\\
[[DysfunctionalFamily That's way too far away]]\\
But something [[TitleDrop next to normal]]\\
Would be okay\\
Yeah, something next to normal\\
That's the thing I'd like to try\\
Close enough to normal\\
To get by"''
-->-- '''Natalie''', "Maybe (Next To Normal)"

''Next to Normal'' is a Tony-and-Pulitzer-award-winning rock musical with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt. The story centers around a DysfunctionalFamily consisting of bipolar depressive housewife Diana, who suffers from [[{{Hallucinations}} delusional episodes]], her husband Dan, who has been struggling with taking care of her on and off for the past sixteen years, their charming but unruly son Gabe, and their disaffected musician daughter Natalie. Also involved are Natalie's on-and-off boyfriend, Henry, and Diana's doctors, Dr. Fine and Dr. Madden.

Originally, it was developed as a ten-minute short called ''Feeling Electric'', inspired by a news report Yorkey saw about electro-convulsive therapy.

The show opened on Broadway at the Booth Theatre on April 15, 2009. It was nominated for eleven Tony awards and won three of them: Best Score, Best Orchestrations, and Best Performance by a Leading Actress.

!!This musical includes examples of the following:

* ArcWords: Only in the first act, there's "He's not here/She's not there."
* BadGirlSong: Diana's cut section of "Feeling Electric"; "Wish I Were Here" and the cut song "Growing Up Unstable", for Natalie.
* BrattyTeenageDaughter: Natalie, but mainly as a JerkassFacade for dealing with her family problems.
** ''"all those years I prayed that / You'd go away for good / Half the time afraid that / You really would..."''
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: Diana's hallucinations of Gabe return and she leaves Dan to take care of herself without him. But Dan comes to terms with his grief over Gabe's death that he had avoided for over a decade and Natalie patches things up with Henry who promises to stay with her for years to come.]]
* BumblingDad: Natalie wants Dan to be "a typical parent and lie" that everything with Diana will be OK.
* CallBack:
** In "Maybe (Next to Normal)", Diana says she is "dancing with death." This is subtle wordplay in reference to her [[spoiler:son's death]], as in all her previous dance metaphors, she is talking about Gabe. This is made more potent because he has previously led her to [[spoiler: attempt suicide]].
** In their first scene together, Natalie tells Henry that he gives up way too easily when he first tries to talk to her and she plays hard to get. Later on when she is seriously trying to push him away due to her own issues and he won't quit, she says "You just don't give up."
** "I am the One" is sung by Dan after Diana insists that he doesn't know what it's like to live with her insanity. "I am the One (reprise)" shows that Dan [[spoiler: has been able to see Gabe for years and simply ignored him]].
** Early in the movie, Henry says that classical music is "So rigid and structured.", and that there's "no room for improvisation". Natalie quotes him verbatim later when [[spoiler:she has a nervous breakdown during her recital]].
* TheCaretaker: Dan takes this to codependent extremes.
* DarkReprise: "It's Gonna Be Good" is a bouncy, happy tune about Dan's excitement for dinner with the family. The reprise is a tense argument between him and his wife.
** "I'm Alive", while very dark in substance in its initial iteration, becomes even more overwhelmingly vicious halfway through its reprise -- Gabe becomes very vehement in tone and word choice as he [[spoiler: re-asserts his control over Diana]].
*** ''"And the medicine failed and the doctors lied..."''
** Technically, when you think about it, all the reprises in Next to Normal are dark- except for the reprise of "Perfect for You." "You Don't Know" itself is a dark, sort of vicious-sounding song- but the reprise is even darker, talking about Diana struggling to regain her memories- and then it goes into MoodWhiplash when Madden says "Have you talked of your depression, your delusions, and your son?" and Diana remembers that [[spoiler: Gabe is her son who died sixteen years ago.]]
** Similarly, the reprise of "I Am the One" is pretty dark, as [[spoiler: Diana has just left her husband]] and Dan sits alone- that is, until [[spoiler: Gabe shows himself to his father.]]
*** ''"But you've always known who I am..."''
** "I Am The One" is an odd reversal. The first one starts out, while not happy, positive as Dan tries to tell Diana that he will always be there for her [[spoiler:then Gabe appears and asserts his control on her as he berates Dan for acting like he doesn't exist]] Then in the reprise, it starts out darker [[spoiler:as Diana is leaving Dan and he sings about his frustrations that he has stayed with her for years through her problems and yet she chooses to leave. Then Gabe appears again, but this time he is staying with Dan to make him come to terms with his son's death.]] Thus, although not quite happy, the song ends on a positive note.
* [[spoiler:DeadAllAlong]]: As we find out half an hour in, [[spoiler: Dan and Diana's son Gabe has been dead for years.]] However, the second act confirms [[spoiler: just how many years he had been dead for. Sixteen.]]
* DeadpanSnarker: Natalie
* DistantDuet: There are a number. "Superboy and the Invisible Girl" is an interesting variation of the trope, as Gabe is singing to Natalie by the end of it [[spoiler: but she can't see him.]]
* DoggedNiceGuy: Henry, who is determined to prove his love to Natalie.
** Dan, who is very determined to bring his family together despite a number of... setbacks.
* DysfunctionalFamily: "So my son's a little shit, my husband's boring, and my daughter, though a genius, is a freak."
* EmbarrassingOldPhoto: In "Better Than Before".
* EpiphanyTherapy: Averted. Even though Dan [[spoiler:seems to come to terms with the loss of his son at the end, he is not suddenly all fine. In fact, its only after this that he even begins going to therapy.]]
* FeelNoPain: 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''."
-->'''Dr. Madden''': Hmmm. . . patient stable.
** Averted when she throws [[NoMedicationForMe 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''.
* FirstLawOfTragicomedies: Though it has a BittersweetEnding instead of a DownerEnding, the show is equal parts funny and heartrending until about the last 20 minutes. After [[spoiler:Diana remembers that she had a son who died,]] the show quickly drops all humor.
* FiveSecondForeshadowing: At the end of "It's Gonna Be Good", the table is set for four people - but Dan, Henry and Natalie are all seated, leaving no chair for either Gabe or Diana. A few seconds later, Natalie reveals that her brother Gabe [[spoiler:has been dead for years]].
* FlippingTheBird: Referenced in "Better Than Before":
-->"We saw the painted desert, the Grand Canyon, and Aunt Rhonda/And Nat learned what her middle finger meant."
* GhostSong: Technically, from [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation one point of view]], [[spoiler: anything sung by Gabe.]]
* GiveHimANormalLife:
-->'''Diana''': ''[To Natalie]'' We tried to give you a normal life. ''(laughs)'' I realize now I have no clue what that is.
* GriefSong: "How Could I Ever Forget?"
* HesBack: 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 [[spoiler: (presumably) empty]] space where Gabe is, to which Dan yells a long "GODDAMMITTTT!"
* IAmSong: "I'm Alive". "Everything Else" is an interesting variation, since it's an IAmSong sung in the second person by the subject of the song (i.e. Natalie's singing about herself, but using the pronoun "you"). "I Am the One"
* IHaveToIronMyDog: Natalie's excuses for why Henry can't stay for dinner start normal, and then veer into "surgery!" and "rabies!"
* InformedAttribute: Subtly enforced with Gabe - Diana claims that his day consists of "Jazz band before school. Class. Key Club. Then football" despite him never being shown doing any of these things. [[spoiler:The reason he's never shown doing these things is because he's just a recurring hallucination that Diana ''thinks'' is doing these things]].
* IronicBirthday: Gabe's birthday, when the delusional Diana bakes Gabe a cake, is when the audience [[spoiler: explicitly finds out, from Dan, that "he's been dead all these years." (Sixteen, to be exact, but it's not confirmed until the second act.)]]
* IronicEcho: Early in the show this conversation occurs.
-->'''Henry''': The thing about classical is it's so rigid and structured, there's no room for improvisation. You have to play the notes on the page.
-->'''Natalie''': Yeah, [[SarcasmMode what did Mozart know anyway?]] He should've just smoked a bowl and jammed on ''Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.''
-->'''Henry''': ...Yeah, let's do that!
** Later on in the show when Natalie [[spoiler:has a breakdown during her piano recital]], it comes back.
-->'''Natalie''': You know what the problem with classical is? It's so rigid and structured! You have to play the notes on the page! There's no room for improvisation!
-->'''Henry''': [[OhCrap Oh no.]]
* ITakeOffenseToThatLastOne
-->'''Natalie''': "Oh, you're one of those pretentious stoner types."
-->'''Henry''': "That's totally unfair! ... I'm not pretentious."
* IWantSong: "I Miss the Mountains"
* MeaningfulName: ''Gabriel'', perhaps as in the angel who appeared to Mary in The Bible and told her she was pregnant.
* MenDontCry: Deconstructed. Dan hides his emotions from his family until it eventually tears them apart, until his wife leaves and Natalie finds him sobbing alone in the dark. Dan eventually agrees to see a therapist recommended by Dr Madden, after a long time of bottling up his emotions.
* MissingMom: 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?"
* MinimalistCast: It's a 6 person show, with the only characters being Diana, Dan, Gabe, Natalie, Henry and Dr. Fine/Madden (the doctors are played by the same actor).
* MoodWhiplash: The perky, bouncy, hyperactive "It's Gonna Be Good", followed abruptly by the revelation that [[spoiler: Gabe has been DeadAllAlong]]; even more abrupt on the album, when the song ends and goes straight into "He's Not Here".
** Also "Hey #1" after "Song of Forgetting." The former is Henry asking Natalie to the spring dance, whereas the latter shows Natalie's fury and frustration that her mother cannot remember anything. "What a lovely cure, it's a medical miracle! With a mind so pure, that she doesn't know anything!"
** Better than, before! [[spoiler: *Gabe enters* ]]
* MusicalisInterruptus: The music abruptly stops as Dr. Madden mentions Gabe in act 2.
* NoAntagonist: The closest thing the show has to an antagonist is Gabe, but [[spoiler:Gabe has been dead for 16 years]], and Diana [[spoiler:and Dan's]] grief is the real problem.
* NoMedicationForMe: Diana's reaction through the second act.
* NoNameGiven: It isn't as blatant as other examples of this, and its averted at the end, but [[spoiler:Gabe's]] name isn't actually said until right before the final number.
* NoodleIncident: During "Better than Before," it's implied Diana caused the family's old house to burn down. How or why is never explained.
* OedipusComplex: The relationship between Gabe, Diana, and Dan; inverted as this trope doesn't affect Gabe's development as much as Diana's and Dan's
** Depending on the production, Gabe's approach toward Diana can be very seductive especially [[spoiler: when he incites her to commit suicide]].
** In "You Don't Know/I am the One", Diana is very caught between Dan's steadfast support and [[spoiler: the memory of]] Gabe. As mentioned in the bullet above, depending on the production when Gabe says "Look at me", he is either angrily saying it to his father [[spoiler:who refuses to acknowledge his death]] or almost seductively to his mother. Most promo performances of the song with little context for it tend to go with the latter version.
* OnlySaneMan: Well, there's the bipolar wife, the angsty teenage daughter, the [[spoiler:dead-ghost]] son, the daughter's stoner boyfriend and the terrifying therapist. And then there's Dan.
** Although he questions whether even he can be considered sane or not:
-->'''Dan''': Who's crazy? The one who's half gone? Or maybe the one who holds on...
* TheReveal: In Act 1, it's that[[spoiler: Gabe is a hallucination in Diana's mind.]]
* ReplacementGoldfish: [[spoiler: Natalie for Gabe.]]
* RewatchBonus: Early in the show, Gabe tells Diana "You've got to let go, Mom. I'm almost eighteen." On first viewings, it's just Gabe annoyed at his mother worrying about him. On second viewings, it's [[spoiler:the ghost or hallucination of Gabe trying to convince his mother to stop grieving after so many years]].
* RockStarSong: Parodied by Diana's hallucinations about Doctor Madden in "My Psychopharmacologist and I", and in Madden's cut song "Feeling Electric."
* YesButWhatDoesItDO: "May cause the following side effects, one or more..."
-->Dizziness, drowsiness, sexual dysfunction...headaches and tremors and night fears and seizures. Diarrhea, constipation, nervous laughter, palpitations. Anxiousness, anger, exhaustion, insomnia, irritability, nausea, vomiting- (Odd and alarming sexual feelings) Oh, and one last thing: [[BreadEggsMilkSquick Use may be fatal...]]
* SanitySlippageSong: Apart from the rather obvious examples, the usually "steadfast and stoic" Dan in "It's Gonna Be Good (Reprise)" as he refuses to name their son to Diana, and eventually smashes the music box that reminded Diana of Gabe at the end of the song, causing Natalie to issue a "Jesus, Dad!".
* [[spoiler: ScrewThisImOuttaHere]]: "So Anyway".
* SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan: As reluctant as Natalie is to accept Henry's affection, she still falls into the trope.
* SirSwearsALot: Most of the characters swear occasionally, but Natalie uses curse words almost as punctuation.
* ShoutOut:
** "Didn't I see this movie, with [[Film/OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest McMurphy and the nurse?]]"
** "[[Theatre/TheSoundOfMusic These are a few of my favorite pills...]]"
* StepfordSmiler: The entire family sing about the struggle of having to keep the act up in "Just Another Day".
* TitleDrop: In the titular song, "Maybe (Next to Normal)".
* TooMuchInformation: 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, [[SarcasmMode thanks, I'm so glad I know that]].
* TheUnFavorite: Natalie has shades of this, all due to [[spoiler: her brother's untimely death in infancy.]]
* TwoGirlsToATeam: Invoked with Diana and Natalie being the only female roles in the cast.
* VillainSong: Depending on how you look at it, both versions of "I'm Alive" and "Aftershocks". "There's a World" is definitely one, considering it's [[spoiler: Gabe talking Diana into attempting suicide.]]
* WhamLine: In Act One, [[spoiler: He's been dead, all these years.]] In Act Two, [[spoiler: And who are you?]]
** One at the very end, though it should probably be taken metaphorically.
-->'''Gabe''':I know you told her that I'm not worth a damn. But I know you know who I am.
-->'''Gabe''':I know you know who I am.
-->'''Dan''':[[spoiler:Can't you just leave me alone.]]