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Integration and disintegration in Next to NormalRomance and romantic entanglements are the fuel of traditional musical theatre, fusing words and music (Engel and Kissel 113) to create entertaining and successful shows with happy endings. Frequently, these happy romantic resolutions reinforce gender hierarchies and heteronormative stereotypes: "Women wait for love, men bring it" (Barnes 51). Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s 2009 musical Next to Normal, in subverting the audience's expectations both for a "normal" heroine and a happy ending, deviates from the conventions of musical theatre and provides an interesting case study of accepted notions of the traditional, integrated musical.