Next to Normal Helps to Normalize Mental Illness

Christina Arrechavala

CAPA is bringing mental illness into the light with their production of Next to Normal. Based on the book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, the musical focuses on a mother with bipolar disorder that worsens every day.

Thomas Hadzeriga, Musical Theatre Acting and Directing major, plays the character Henry.

While he is detached during the rehearsal process to focus on learning his lines, he lives for his moments on stage.

“When I am on stage I am living in the moment with my fellow actors.” Hadzeriga said, “I'm looking forward to sharing this story with everyone and I’m thrilled to be standing by such wonderfully talented people.”

He wants those attending to understand the meaning of caring for their loved ones.

“Sometimes the symptom is worse than the cure,” Hadzeriga said. “Never search for something to fix about a person you love and care about but accept their faults and work to love them and cherish them.”

Theatre West provides its audience to have a personal experience. The intimacy of the show will make the impact of mental health more personal for the audience.

Gabrielle D’Antoni, a junior Liberal Arts/ Education joint major, thinks the subject matter is appropriate for the college atmosphere.

“I love that they are showcasing the hardships of mental illness,” D’Antoni said. “I think a lot of students struggle in silence with it themselves, so seeing it on stage might normalize it for them.”

Alexis Balbuena, a freshman on the Pre-Med major, has only heard the show through friends, but is excited to see it for herself.

“I'm looking forward to how all the characters are portrayed and the music,” Balbuena said. “I've never seen this musical so I have high hopes.”

Next to Normal premiers Feb. 15-18 starting at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 will be an afternoon showing starting at 2 p.m. NSU, BPCC at NSU and LSMSA are free but must make reservations by calling (318) 357-4483.. 

Next to Normal Helps to Normalize Mental Illness