Episode 34: Next to Normal – the ground-breaking musical exploring mental illness

A musical may not be the first thing that comes to mind as a way to convey the experiences of mental illness and how people cope in a crisis.  

However, in this episode of GET REAL we speak to two people who will be bringing to the stage a rock musical that’s been described as “an unflinching look at a suburban family struggling with the effects of mental illness”. The show centres around a mother who is traumatised by loss and the unpredictable effects sparked by her bipolar diagnosis. 

Our guests are director Mark Taylor and actress Queenie van de Zandt who talk about their upcoming production of Next to Normal in Melbourne. Next to Normal is a Tony Award-winning musical that debuted on Broadway in 2009. Since then the production has been staged around the world and was also awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2010. 

As we recorded this episode, Melbourne was in a snap lockdown due to COVID-19 transmissions and Mark and Queenie also talk about the impact the pandemic has had on the arts and how they’ve been taking care of their own mental health. 

Next to Normal runs at Chapel Off Chapel Theatre in Melbourne from 15 July to 25 July 2021 https://chapeloffchapel.com.au/show/next-to-normal/ 

CONTENT NOTE: If you’ve been affected by anything you’ve heard in this episode you can phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or go to www.lifeline.org.au 

ermha365 provides a range of mental health services designed to help people experiencing mental health challenges to thrive in the community. 


Originally published as Episode 34: Next to Normal – the ground-breaking musical exploring mental illness at Get Real: Talking mental health & disability

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Nicole Jurewicz


Nicole Jurewicz is the Policy Research Associate at the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). Nicole conducts research and supports the public policy and advocacy team to advance opportunities for individuals with learning disabilities.   Prior to joining NCLD, Nicole was a middle school math teacher. She also has worked as a Research Assistant with Transition […]
The post Nicole Jurewicz appeared first on NCLD.


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