White Coats in Black Hats

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“Bipolar is closer to Schizophrenia than Depression,” is my favorite truth from 2011 Pulitzer Prize Winning Rock Opera, “Next to Normal,” Brian Yorkey Book & Lyrics – Tom Kitt Music.

Set Designer Tom Bloom, Choreographer Melissa Charles and Robert Chapel’s Direction amazingly topped off by a cast of six whose diction alone deserves standing ovations from everyone sensing the helplessness of watching a loved one increasingly disappear into illness, aided by medically dysfunctional prescription drugs.

As Art, “Next to Normal” is literary ‘Voice of Reason’ opening secret family book, our nation refuses even to take off the shelf.  Chapel’s Heritage Theatre Festival Virginia production turns life’s pages alternately gently and with lightening physical tempo.

As in Act Two of “Next to Normal,” America needs to take stock, choose a ‘what’s good for me is good for you’ clearer path and move forward united in a spirit of purpose, on new road of hope for renewed freedom, to reason.

Ending a New York Television career to care for ailing parents during a time of political overreaction in favor of a “Howdy” ‘Black-Gold’ hungry Commander-in-Chief and meltdown of America’s trust, I foresaw a need to resuscitate Civility, Equality for Women and Voting Rights, with reasonable voices.

As “The Reasonable Voices” we need be a nation of politically savvy ERA males and females of every age, creating stunning reality that artfully overwhelms self-serving double dealing financial institutions like, SAC Capital, Halliburton and Goldman Sachs, whose M. O. is to cripple USA, with their unsustainable famish, unsatisfied even after Middle Class is diminished to endangered species.

So with melodies, paintbrushes, signs, smart phones, iPods, keyboarded fingertips and speeches, let’s embrace in transformation all who have been numbed by the blinding sandstorm of Wall Street and distracted by repetitious ‘Media is the message,’ releasing all from the imprisoned existence of glazed over sideliners, into attentive listeners, thinkers for themselves, and demanders of truth from commanders of dangerously wasteful human folly.

By character thus renewed, ask, seek and knock for accountability from all in power and all who have power over the powerful.

Questioning and regulating authority over us, we create an humanitarian world, welcoming and gleaning from the best of history, while shedding and shredding the distain of Radical Right Conservative fears, programmed fiscal games from rented Congress, compromised Supremes and the malicious gauging greed of Institutional Banking Student Loans, Fast Foods, Health Insurance, Pharmaceutical and Medical corporations so short sighted, they fail to see depleting the fatted calves, leaves top heavy top, not too big to jail.

Disregard for most American citizens as human beings worthy of respect has sunk to foreclosure, household property stolen and being locked out of your home by First National Bank with whom you have no mortgage – all while vacationing from Ohio.


Patient visits ‘Wellness Center’ with painful shoulders is prescribed DICLOFENAC, which he takes with meals to avoid stomach problems.

Patient begins having terrible stomach pains, stops taking DICLOFENAC.  Doctor sends patient to G. I. Association where blood test says dangerous stomach bacteria is present.

G. I. Dr. Daniel gives man Endoscopy (down throat) which proves negative on stomach bacteria, but finds small ulcer (caused by DICLOFENAC), healing itself, without need for medical procedures or Insurance co-pays.  Patient left suffering with weeks of major sore throat.  G. I. Daniel says, “It was the anesthesia.”

Too bad patient does radio news and Voiceover.  Endoscopy Specialist pushes Prilosec and dizziness causing DICYCLOMINE, maybe to make patient forget medical procedure that stole career like bank stole house furniture.

Is this the “New Normal?”  Then I prescribe:  heed poets, playwrights and political writers and stay just “Next to Normal.”


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