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Best Bets: ‘Next to Normal’ opens today at Teatro Zuccone

Loved ones consider the best course of action for Diana’s treatment in Renegade Theater Company’s production of “Next to Normal.” Andy Frye (left), Caroline LePine and Andy Bennett star in the musical about mental illness. Photo by Andy Miller.

On the outside, it’s an idyllic loving family living the suburban experience: Diana Goodman has a boring husband, a daughter who is a genius and a freak, and a son who is a little (insert choice word).

But there is more beneath the surface in the Pulitzer Prize-winning show “Next to Normal” — bipolar disorder, meds and misdiagnosis. The rock musical by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt also won three Tony Awards in 2009, including Best Original Score, Best Orchestration and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.

 It’s not without its humor: Imagine an entire cast singing about the side effects of a drug cocktail to the tune of “My Favorite Things.”

When “Next to Normal” opened on Broadway, New York Times reviewer Ben Brantley said it did not qualify as a feel-good musical.

“Instead, this portrait of a manic-depressive mother and the people she loves and the damages is something more: A feel-everything musical, which asks you, with operatic force, to discover the liberation in knowing where it hurts.”

GO SEE IT What: Renegade Theater Company’s production of “Next to Normal”

When: Opens 8 p.m. today; Runs 8 p.m. Thur.-Sat. through April 5

Where: Teatro Zuccone, 222 E. Superior St.

Tickets: $18 adults, $15 students and seniors, $10 student rush on Thursdays

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