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The Goodman Family
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
Dan: [To the audience] Again, no clue.
- ...And then later on again he says
- 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
- The Protagonist: Diana's struggle with her bipolar disorder and ongoing grief over her son's death 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.
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 is just as much about Dan struggling to keep the family running and avoiding his own grief about his dead son.
- 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.
- Motor Mouth: Most notably in "It's Gonna Be Good".
- 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
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 17 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.
- Also, he performs his solo in "Just Another Day" in his boxers.
- 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.
Played by Jennifer Damiano
"And you graduate early, you're gone as of May! And there's nothing your paranoid parents can say."
- Age-Appropriate Angst: She explains this in her cut solo "Growing Up Unstable".
- Break the Cutie
- Dawson Casting: Averted. Natalie is stated to be sixteen, yet was played by Jennifer Damiano (who was still in high school) originally.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life:Natalie: And you play 'til it's perfect, you play 'til you ache. You play 'til the strings or your fingernails break! So you'll rock that recital and get into Yale, so you won't feel so sick, and you won't look so pale.
- Embarrassing Old Photo: In "Better Than Before".
- Freudian Excuse: She's not evil, just rather sarcastic and angry. But she gets better, and considering how her life was before and during most of the show, it's amazing she hasn't snapped (well, more than she already has).
- I Just Want to Be Loved: "Superboy and the Invisible Girl" shows that she hates the way her mother only seems to care about her brother, who isn't even alive.
- Innocence Lost: And she resents her parents for it.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Oblivious to Love:Henry: Our planet is poisoned, the oceans, the air. Around and beneath and above you.Natalie: Um, Henry, that's true and I totally care.Henry: I'm trying to tell you— I love you.Natalie: WHAT?!
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Henry says that the Natalie he fell in love with is "somewhere in her", during "Hey #1".
- Power of Love: How Natalie helps the family come to terms with Diana's leaving at the end of the show, especially because of Henry, who is "like, number three on [her] list of problems" but her "favorite problem."
- Replacement Goldfish: Her mother admits to having her to replace her brother, who died in infancy.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man
- Stepford Snarker / Stepford Smiler: "Everything's great! Why wouldn't it be great! It's great."
- Teens Are Monsters: Averted eventually. Natalie is just very, very frustrated at her parents.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: With the suggestion from Henry, she uses Diana's pills to get high and goes clubbing to try to cope with what's happening with her family.
- The Un Favourite: To a brother that died before she was even born. Ouch.
Played by Adam Chanler-Berat
"I might be lazy, a loner, a bit of a stoner... it's true."
- Completely Missing the Point: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, 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!
- Dogged Nice Guy
- Everyone Has Standards: He's an unrepentant stoner who introduces Natalie to drugs, but the hardcore pills she starts taking in Act II severely scares him. Natalie actually tries to call out his hypocrisy for being worried about her taking drugs, only for him to point out that he's never done what she's doing.
- I Take Offense to That Last One!Natalie: "Oh, you're one of those pretentious stoner types."Henry: "That's totally unfair! ... I'm not pretentious."
- Nice Guy: Completely supportive and loving of Natalie.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Him being high is a Running Gag, and used to loosen the seriousness of Natalie starting to take her mother's drugs in "I'm Alive" until "Wish I Were Here".
- Stoners Are Funny: See Plucky Comic Relief.
- The Stoner: Stated in "Perfect For You".
- Naïve Newcomer
Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden
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 Fine 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.