Missoula’s Take on “next to normal” Gives The Tony Winning Play a Fresh Spin


Actors Nick Monsos and Petrea Torma acting in the play. Photo Credits Nick Monsos

Evyn Good, Reporter

Last Thursday marked the opening show for “next to normal” at the Westside Theater in Missoula, Montana. The story is about a mom named Diana who struggles with worsening Bipolar disorder. This increases family drama between her husband Dan, attempting-to-be-perfect daughter Natalie, and son Gabe. The worsening family state leads Natalie to start dating Henry and Diana to have to visit Doctor Madden to try to improve Diana’s worsening condition.

Star of the show Petrea Torma, who played Diana, showed a very spirited performance throughout. However, she was not the best performance of the night. The actor of Gabe, Nick Monsos,  stole the show with a lively, but subtle performance throughout. He played his character with a loud and proud personality and illustrated that well throughout the play. The rest of the cast layed out a stellar performance as well.

The theater is small, but it played well into the tone and themes of the play. Being tightly fit around the stage aids the feeling of being trapped and overwhelmed on all sides. Hearing the sound of the fellow cast members singing from behind you adds to the overall atmosphere and adds to the tone and feeling of the performances. 

The play also featured a panel discussion about mental health advocacy and suicide prevention. The panel discussion featured speakers from different outreach programs around the state,  inspiring discussion afterwards about their stories with mental health battles and even struggles with suicidal thoughts. 

The topic and stories brought were sad in subject matter, the discussion was inspiring and led to a new light being shed onto mental health and that people are always going through something, even if it can’t be seen. Walking out of the theater, you could hear chatter about depression, anxiety and suicide from people of all demographics. The play was great, but the stories that were told and sparked by this play are more important and show the importance of art as a whole.