The old maxim goes that “normal is only a setting on the dyer” but Next to Normal is a riveting tale of one family’s quest to be normal.

In every family there comes a point where one wonders how different one is from other families.  Keeping up with the Jones’ is more than just looking at the material items but the dynamic within the family.

In the Alliance Theatre’s production of Next to Normal we are introduced to Natalie (Lyndsay Ricketsos), a 16-year-old that is going through the angst of high school, relationships, and dealing with her parents.

Her parents, Dan (Bob Gaynor) and Diana (Catherine Porter), are high school sweethearts that are trying to do the right thing in raising a family, working hard and loving their kids.

Everything seems fine until you realized that Diana sees the world through a different lens. This perspective creates tension at home and she seeks treatment for what you discover is a series of mental disorders and her doctor recommends radical electric shock treatments.

Googie Uterhardt, who plays Dr. Madden and Dr. Fine, steals the spotlight when he uses Doctor jargon to rationalize Diana’s behavior.  Uterhardt’s timing and straight delivery adds levity to the serious conversations that occur.

In conjunction with support from Emory’s Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, allows you to peek inside the human psyche.

Next to Normal is styled as a musical that appears more like a rock concert or modern opera moves quickly and delivers a timely message of family secrets. This production is a lively starting point for the discussion of the delicacy of the human psyche.

Don’t miss out in the Tony award-winning production, even Barry Manilow was in the house opening night to see it.  So be in the know and check this moving tale.

Next to Normal is running though November 11, for details visit

On a lighter note, start making plans for ‘A Christmas Carol’ beginning November 23, fall in love with the promise of Christmas again.


Follow Dr. Wilson Trivino on [email protected]