DENVER
01/06/2011 06:33 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Tony Award-Winning 'Next To Normal' Wins Denver Audiences

The hilarious, insane and frightening musical portrayal about living with mental illness has finally made it to Denver.

Next To Normal leaves out the sugar-coating and adds plenty of spice to its already intense plot about a family gripped by a mother's struggle with bipolar disorder. Exploring themes of loss, recovery and relapse is a surprisingly uplifting experience since the musical is portrayed more like a rock concert onstage--complete with electric guitar, keyboard, and orchestra stage right and left.

But make no mistake because the emotions are raw, f-bombs are flying--yes even in song--and the subject matter is exceptionally real. Onstage, Ripley, deciding not to take her medications any more, empties all her pill bottles while singing, "I miss my life." Meanwhile her husband, played by Asa Somers (Law & Order: SVU, Gossip Girl) is struggling to grasp her disorder and her daughter just wants to be heard.

The musical won three Tony Awards in 2009, including best musical and best performance by leading lady Alice Ripley, took the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for drama and pulled Denver into a standing ovation in its opening week.

Next To Normal is playing at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House from January 4-16th, Tuesday through Sunday.

Tickets: Prices start at $20
Run time: 2 hours and 20 minutes (with one 15-minute intermission)

WATCH Next To Normal perform "You Don't Know" and "I Am the One" at the 2009 Tony Awards: WATCH Alice Ripley's acceptance speech at the 2009 Tony Awards: