The rock musical “Next to Normal ” has received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The show, with music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, dealt with an unlikely subject for a Broadway show: mental illness. The Pulitzer recognized the work for expanding “the scope of subject matter for musicals.” The Pulitzer carries a $10,000 cash prize.
Earlier this year, 'Next to Normal' took home the 2009 Tony Award for Best Original Score (Musical and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre. Alice Ripley, who plays the manic-depressive suburban homemaker at the center of the story, won the Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical. When the show opened, New York Times chief theater critic Ben Brantley wrote '[Next to Normal is a] brave, breathtaking musical. It is something much more than a feel-good musical: it is a feel-everything musical.'
Kitt and Yorkey were students and friends at Columbia University when they first developed the idea for the show in the late 1990s, when it was conceived as a ten-minute piece called Feeling Electric. It had an Off-Broadway run at Second Stage and a regional engagement at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., before it came to Broadway in March 2009.