As a sustained and penetrating argument about mental illness and its treatment, Next to Normal has elicited some reservations as well as praise. ("Bullshit," concludes Boston blogger Thomas Garvey, and his essay merits a Google search.) For what it's worth, the last few minutes, including an uplifting paean to "Light," strike me as incongruous rather than bullshit per se: a "musical" ending to a musical that — refreshingly — breaks all the rules.
But Next to Normal did win the Pulitzer; and it is worth a look, if only to be au courant with all things theatrical. And with proceeds benefiting the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Woodlawn's grand re-opening clearly has its heart — and often its head and its larynx — in the right place.
And that, my friends, is next to godliness. •
7:30pm Fri-Sat, 3pm Sun
Through July 29