Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Publication Date



Visual and Performing Arts, College of


Theatre and Dance, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Carla Lahey

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Next To Normal, the Broadway musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, follows a dysfunctional family whose matriarch struggles with a multitude of mental health issues. Delving into hard topics, such as mental health and family relationships, the musical challenges what we consider to be normal family dynamics and mental states. These important themes are mainly demonstrated through Diana, a mother and wife who struggles with severe mental health diagnosis. Through this analysis, these difficult questions are unveiled while looking closely at the musical’s plot structure, characters, ideas, and dialogue.