Nobody's family is precisely normal, but when you throw serious chemical imbalance into the usual crock pot of love and dysfunction, you get mayhem in the kitchen. When a bipolar mother flushes her meds down the toilet, her family falls into complete (though musically harmonious) disarray. From the director of Rent, Next to Normal is a Broadway smash that hits home with anyone who’s ever been prescribed antidepressants, from low-dose mood adjusters to high octane pill regimens. Or anyone who’s ever gone through their parents’ medicine cabinet in search of something to numb the pain.
Putting mental illness and the effect it has on a family under the microscope, it's a powerful - and still rather taboo - subject. Intense and unflinching with the blood and the questionable treatments, Next to Normal garnered a tsunami of raves from the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and the folks who give out Tonys and Pulitzers. It's an emotional firecracker of a show, where everyone plunges off a cliff in their own way and must rely on one another to find their way back. The national tour stars Alice Ripley, reprising the role that won her a Tony in 2009.
Through February 20. Curran Theatre, 445 Geary Street. Tickets are $30-99 at shnsf.com.