Next to Normal, a 2010 musical with lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt, portrays a family who appears normal, but a closer look indicates that the family is crumbling in a variety of ways. The family attempts to heal itself through a variety of tactics and treatments, all of which prove insufficient. However, the musical ends optimistically with the characters believing they will find “some light” to shine into their darkness. According to grief theorist Dennis Klass, the light that the Goodman family in Next to Normal seeks is a healthy continuing bond with Gabe. Since the musical occurs in a postmodern context, this solution is one of many possible solutions and requires the Goodman family to look inside themselves for healing.
Next to Normal, Bereaved Parents, Continuing Bonds, Complicated Grief, Grief Theory
Roberts, Kathy S., "'We Need Some Light': Seeing Identities After Grief in Next to Normal" (2015). English Seminar Capstone Research Papers. 34.
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