Shows N

A NEW BRAIN An autobiographical Musical. Music & lyrics by William Finn: Jason Robert Brown (arr.) Book by William Finn and James Lapine Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center 14 May, 1998 Off-Broadway: Edinburgh Fringe 2005; Littlehampton, West Sussex 2006 SYNOPSIS A New Brain dealt directly with his own harrowing personal experience with arteriovenous malformation and the healing power of art. The hero, Gordon, worries that he may not live to complete his work. Finn wrote many of the songs soon after his release from the hospital. STORY Gordon Schwinn, a talented young songwriter, works at his piano to meet a deadline. Gordon is irritated because he must write a song about Spring for a children's television entertainer who dresses as a frog. He takes a break from his writing and meets his friend Rhoda at a restaurant for pasta. During lunch, Gordon clutches his head and falls face first into his meal. Rhoda calls an ambulance, and Gordon is taken to the hospital. He learns that he has a brain tumor and fluid build-up in his brain. Gordon needs an operation, and if he doesn't have it, he could die or never regain the use of his faculties. While in the hospital, Gordon contemplates his situation. His greatest fear is dying with his greatest songs still inside of him; and so from his hospital bed, and in while in a coma, and all throughout his ordeal, he begins writing the songs. He also has several hallucinations that involve various people whom he has encountered. In particular, a homeless lady that he met on his way to get pasta with Rhoda continually pops up. Gordon eventually has the surgery and recovers completely. The creative block he was experiencing before his ordeal lifts, and he gains new insights. His near death experience encourages him to re-evaluate and better appreciate the people and relationships in his life. CAST • Gordon Schwinn (A lovable but sarcastic composer) • Mr. Bungee (The director/producer and star of his own children’s television show) • Mimi Schwinn (Gordon’s loving yet unstable mother) • Rhoda (Gordon’s business manager and best friend) • Roger Delli-Bovi (Gordon’s charming and affectionate lover) • Richard (A kind and compassionate nurse) • Lisa (A homeless lady) • Waitress/Nancy D. (The waitress is overbearing; Nancy is a sadistic nurse) • Dr. Jafar Berensteiner (An unsympathetic doctor) • The Minister (A hospital employee with a drinking problem) MUSICAL NUMBERS 1. Frogs Have So Much Spring Within Them (The Spring Song) - Gordon 2. Specials - Gordon, Rhoda, Waitress, Mr. Bungee 3. 911 Emergency/ I Have So Many Songs - Richard, Waitress, Doctor, Rhoda, Minister, Lisa