Broadway Shows Dealing with Mental Health Issues

Broadway has never shied away from difficult issues, and mental health issues were part of that. We’ve dealt with issues like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, suicide, and even seen actors of color playing the all-white founding fathers.

Anyone Can Whistle (1964)

We have selected five pieces that deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, suicide, mental illness and suicide attempts. Instead, we’re bringing you something only Stephen Sondheim can offer us, and that’s the story of a mayor trying to attract tourists. How crazy are sensible people really, or is that just the idea of the mayor and his wife and the city council?

Next to Normal (2008)

Bipolar disorder is a common and serious problem, and it is also a serious problem in the US, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Brian Yorkey’s production gives us an insight into the impact Diana Goodman’s daily duties have on her mental health. The plot slowly escalates and Diana undergoes shock therapy and treatment for her bipolar disorder.

Man of La Mancha (1965)

Inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’s iconic boo, the play depicts a delusional knight in Don Quixote, but it all ends well for both.

Not everything is as it seems, and Dr. Sanson Carrasco, Antony’s fiancée, who is prompted to ask whether the rational is really normal, offers a reasonable perspective. The subject has been examined several times in psychology literature, but only because he is a noble knight who fights against windmills.

Jagged Little Pill (2019)

In this teenage drama, which evokes memories of old traumas and problems at all levels, things get out of hand as they become more complicated. MJ is not naturally cured , Nick is on the verge of a breakdown, Steve has a strange addiction, Frankie is about to deliver a surprise, and Nick has been admitted to Harvard.

Again, the show ends with some positive performances, but it’s not without its share of serious issues such as bullying, depression and even suicide.

Assassins (2004)

I suspect Sondheim had something to do with the character’s mental health problems, but I’m not sure. The series is about an assassin who tries to meet James Bond – and meets such famous characters as John Travolta, James Gandolfini and John Goodman.

He is a murderer, but he is also the subject of a number of books, films, TV series and even a book series. The topic will be presented as part of the National Center for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ Month of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Awareness.

Dear Evan Hansen (2016)

He is a high school kid suffering from social anxiety, and he is tied to a group of friends who have left him. But then comes the doom, the Murphys discover the lies, his friends are left out And then he discovers the lie himself.

It all ends when they reconcile their difficult relationship, which is one of the show’s main themes, and the Murphys “relationship with one another.

They manage to mend fences with their friends, but also with Zoe, and who knows, they might even get back together.


Broadway has always been at the forefront of socially important issues, and Cabaret is a great example of that in the past. Hamilton, seen as a blow to racism, has his fair share of social issues, such as hunting down a homosexual and killing an unarmed black man.

Mental health is a common theme in art, and Broadway is no exception – indeed, some studies suggest there is a direct link.

Of course, a good performance of musical theater is always helpful, but Broadway has always been at the forefront of solving current problems. Fighting AIDS is always a top priority, and the fight for mental health is always one of the most important issues on Broadway.

Many of those shows are great for teens, too!