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next to normal A musical in 2 acts. Music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, Second Stage Theatre, Off-Broadway. 13th February, 2008 (previews from 16 January, 2008) Closed 16th March, 2008. (33 previews, 37 performances) Booth Theatre, Broadway 15th April, 2009 (Previews from 27th March, 2009) SYNOPSIS Act I Suburban mother Diana Goodman waits up late for her curfew-challenged son, comforts her anxious and overachieving daughter, hurries off for some sex with her husband, then rises to help prepare her family for "Just Another Day." But when her lunch making takes a turn for the bizarre with sandwiches covering the table, chairs, and floor, the rest realise something is not right. As husband Dan helps the disoriented Diana, Natalie hurries off to school and the refuge of the piano practice room, where she's interrupted by Henry, a classmate who likes to listen to her play - and clearly likes her. Over the following weeks, Diana makes a series of visits to her doctor, while Dan waits in the car outside, questioning how to cope with his own depression. It is revealed that Diana has suffered from bipolar disorder coupled with hallucinations for sixteen years; Doctor Fine begins to adjust her medications until he declares her stable. Natalie and Henry grow closer until one day he professes his love for her and they kiss for the first time. Diana witnesses this and realises she's missed much of Natalie's growing up. With her son's encouragement, she flushes away her medication. A few weeks later, Dan looks forward to dinner with his family, but when Diana emerges with a cake singing "Happy Birthday" to her son, Dan and Natalie are devastated. Dan holds Diana and explains that "He's Not Here" - that their son has been dead for years. Natalie storms off, and Dan mentions a return to the doctor, but Diana refuses - and as Dan tries to coax her into trusting him, their son joins them, trying in vain to get Dan's attention. Up in her room, Natalie vents her anger to Henry, then refuses Diana's apology as her brother watches and taunts her. A few days later, Diana starts work with Doctor Madden. As her son rises to make his presence felt, Dan and Natalie doubt the sessions are helping, but Doctor Madden proposes hypnosis to help Diana discover the roots of her trauma. Finally, Diana agrees it's time to let her son go. Diana goes home to clean out her son's things, pausing to listen to a music box. Her son, Gabe appears and dances with her, then invites her to come away with him. She does. At the hospital, where Diana lies sedated and restrained, with self-inflicted gashes to her wrists, Doctor Madden explains to Dan that ECT is the standard course of treatment for drug-resistant patients who are imminently suicidal. Dan goes home to clean up after Diana and decide what to do. The next day, Diana lashes out at Doctor Madden, refusing the treatment, but Dan arrives and convinces her it may be their last hope. Act II Over a period of two weeks, Diana receives a series of ECT treatments, while Natalie further explores clubs and drugs. When Diana returns home from the hospital, she and her shocked family realise Diana has lost sixteen years of memory. Natalie escapes to school, where Henry confronts her, wondering why she's been avoiding him and inviting her to the spring formal dance. Dan and Diana visit Doctor Madden, who assures them that some memory loss is normal and encourages Dan to use photos, mementoes, and the like to help Diana recover. Dan gathers the family to do so, with minor success, but when Natalie pulls the music box from a pile of keepsakes, he whisks it away, leaving