It’s been called one of the best musicals of the 21st century for its honest exploration of mental illness and pain. It’s “Next to Normal,” and it’s coming to the Blackbox, 1623 5th Ave., Moline. The story centers on Diana Goodman, a wife and mother who struggles with bipolar disorder and the effect it has on her family. The 2008 American rock musical with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt was winner of three Tony Awards (2009), including Best Musical Score and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize.

Heading the cast as Diana Goodman is Shana Kulhavy. David Miller will portray her husband, Dan. The rest of the cast include Oliva Lyman (Natalie Goodman), Joe Lasher (Gabe Goodman), Anania Williams (Henry) and Zach Hendershott (Dr. Madden/Fine). The  production is being directed by Kyle Schneider with music direction by Randin Letendre and stage management by Kelci Eaton.

“Next to Normal” will be presented August 9th through 18th Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday’s at 2:30 pm. Tickets may be purchased online at www.theblackboxtheatre.com

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.